Insurtech Boston, a local networking event for startups and companies seeking to innovate in the insurance industry, had its second meeting of the year at District Hall in the Seaport District on November 10th. District Hall is one of the first buildings of its kind in the world. Built by a public-private partnership, District Hall’s aim is to provide dedicated civic space for the innovation community to gather and exchange ideas.
“Insurtech” as disrupting the insurance status quo
“Insurance technology”, also dubbed “Insurtech” for short, has been defined by one industry commentator as, “any start-up or company that provides, through technology and innovation, a disruption to the insurance industry status quo.”
For independent agents, the terms “Insurtech” may seem to name just one more trend that will adversely impact the American agency system. However, that may not be the case. Agency Checklists spoke with one of the creators InsurTech Boston, Michael Albert, about Insurtech Boston’s history and purpose who say inclusiveness is the key word for this group. In addition to being one of the organizers of InsurTech Boston, Mr. Albert is also a co-founder with Allan Egbert of Boston-based Ask Kodiak, a commercial insurance search engine that keeps agents and brokers up-to-date on different insurance carriers’ business appetites.
Insurtech Boston provides networking opportunities for all interested insurance market stakeholders
Insurtech Boston is the brainchild of Mr. Albert, his co-founder of Ask Kodiak, Allan Egbert, and Jay Farber of F Prime Capital, the venture capital arm of Fidelity Investments. They say that Insurtech Boston was created in order to help people working in the Insurtech industry in Boston.
Mr. Albert and Mr. Egbert started Ask Kodiak in Boston two years ago and had benefited tremendously from the support of a strong local network of entrepreneurs, tech leaders, startups, and insurance industry innovators. However, even though there were so many key players in the Boston Insurtech community, they found there was no connecting thread.
Mr. Albert, Mr. Egbert, and Mr. Farber decided to put together an open call for a first meeting of what they called “Insurtech Boston.”
Second meeting of Insurtech Boston triples attendance of first meeting
The first meeting of Insurtech Boston was held on Cinco de Mayo or May 5, 2016. This first event drew approximately 70 people to hear a panel discuss the future of the insurance broker and broker-related technical innovation.
The second event, held six months later, had an even greater turn-out. Mr. Albert says the event drew more than triple the number of attendees that the first meeting in May did, with over 200 insurance entrepreneurs, venture capitalists, tech leaders attending.
Third meeting of Insurtech Boston tentatively set for May 2017
Mr. Albert has advised Agency Checklists that the third Insurtech meeting has been tentatively scheduled for May 2017. When asked if independent agents or other Massachusetts insurance professionals were welcome, the answer from Mr. Albert was an unequivocal “Absolutely”, adding that agents, or any other Massachusetts insurance professionals, are 100 percent welcome.
Interested persons can sign up on the Insurtech Boston mail list for notification at Insurtech Boston. Also, if anyone would like to discuss participation by presentations or sponsorship, they can email firstname.lastname@example.org.
Mr. Albert’s post of the proceedings at Insurtech Boston’s second meeting
On November 14th, Mr. Albert published his own article, entitled InsurTech Boston: Chapter 2, on his Linkedin page. Since it is a first-hand account of the event, Agency Checklists thought it worthwhile to include his take on the event. He graciously let us reprint it here.
“The evening began with Shefi Ben-Hutta from the newly unveiled Coverager giving us her insightful and unfiltered take on the space. If you’re not already subscribed to Coverager you should be. Shefi left no Insurtech stone unturned, and as always delivered an un-restrained unique take on transformative change in insurance. If you missed it or just want to relive the magic, you can find her slides here.
From here we passed the mic to four startups to tell us their stories:
- Will Newton from Acend told us what his team is doing build a pay-as-you-fly insurance platform for drones.
- RJ Irving gave some perspective on how the team at Melius was simplifying financial planning, and how the right insurance was an essential part of that.
- Mike Lloyd from YourPoncho walked us through how his team reviews current policies to help identify gaps and vulnerabilities in existing coverage.
- Snejina Zacharia from Insurify took the stage and told us the story of why she started the company and gave us a peek into the explosive growth they’ve been experiencing.
It was a great evening and we look forward to trying to top it soon and getting another batch of startups on stage to tell you their stories. Thanks to our sponsors Mass Mutual Ventures, Homesite, MyLifeProtected, Apliant, Loft, DuckCreek, AP Intego, and Internet Insurance Group for helping make the event a reality (we told you it was a strong community!).”