Agencies Form Venture to Accelerate, Invest in Insurtech Startups for Agents, Brokers

September 19, 2019

Six insurance agencies from across the country have joined together to form a program specifically for investors and innovators behind technology innovations for insurance agencies and brokerages.

The new entity, BrokerTech Ventures, aims to invest in the research and testing for each of its chosen startups, provide access to industry mentors, and help scale the technology to market through broker distribution channels. The program is based in Des Moines, Iowa.

The national independent agencies behind the venture are Iowa-based Holmes Murphy, Wisconsin’s M3 Insurance, Oregon-based PayneWest Insurance, California’s ABD Insurance & Financial Services, New Jersey’s Conner Strong & Buckelew, and Illinois-headquartered Assurance. The owner agencies said they are also looking to partner with additional privately held and geographically diverse insurance agencies and brokerages.

The owners call BrokerTech Ventures “the first program specifically for investors and innovators building the next generation of tech solutions for insurance agencies and brokerages.”

Dan Keough, Holmes Murphy chairman and CEO, said there is an “ongoing need for technology solutions specific to agents and brokers” and BrokerTech Ventures is being created an “innovation hub” for startups to test broker-centric ideas and products.

Mike Victorson, M3 Insurance president, said the agency partners in the venture intend on being active participants. “The idea behind the alignment of BrokerTech Ventures as both an accelerator and an investment vehicle is that we, and our agency partners, have an opportunity to shape a product or solution alongside the startup,” he said.

The group is in the process of hiring its first managing director. The group has enlisted Brian Hemesath, former managing director of the Global Insurance Accelerator (GIA) and a well-known insurtech leader, to provide guidance on the initiative and curriculum for BrokerTech Ventures. The curriculum will focus on sales, messaging/communications and capital.

Startup companies can apply for a spot in the first BrokerTech Ventures cohort starting October 28 of this year, with the program launch planned for February 2020.

Each startup chosen for the cohort will eligible to receive $50,000 in initial funding.

BrokerTech Ventures seeks startups and early-stage ventures with solutions that impact insurance brokers, agents and their customers. Lines of business include, but are not limited to, property/casualty, benefits, surety, and health.

The founders envision a 2020 program as follows:

  • Feb 4-6: Program kickoff and selection process
    March 2-13: Needs assessment period and educational curriculum
    March 23-April-3: Primary 1:1 meeting period between brokers and startups
    May-August: Onsite visits + co-working at brokers’ offices
    September (TBD): Program finale including conference exposure and other marketing benefits

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