Global companies have been warming up to the startup space in India in search of disruptive ideas and technology. Charting a similar path, Swiss Reinsurance Co Ltd, generally known as Swiss Re, a Zurich-based reinsurance company launched the first-ever corporate InsurTech accelerator to help startups develop business solutions that could revolutionize the way (re)insurance conducts business.
In July 2016, Swiss Re successfully identified and enrolled 6 start-ups out of 80 applications and started the program. During the program, startups were given access to the global expertise and insights from the Swiss Re team, mentors from the industry, and technical enablement to work on challenging global insurance problems. The selected startups include Arya.ai, Touchkin, Niki.ai, Datasigns, GQOii and eKincare.
What's sets Insurtech apart?
Entrepreneur India spoke to Amit Kalra, ?Senior Vice President, Head Strategic Initiatives and Analytics, on what makes this accelerator different from the rest.
"On the domain side it's India's first insurance-focused accelerator. We are trying to curate the insurance ecosystem in India while most of the other accelerators are focused on the early age startups, we are focusing on startups that have crossed various maturity levels. We are trying to look at innovative ideas which help the insurance sector to disrupt; both at the global and India-specific level," Amit said.
How does it work?
Startups that have been selected have a wide array of focus like lifestyle, mental wellness and others. The accelerator curates their idea and transforms them to think of insurance as a vertical. In this way the startup can create new product and client opportunities.
Example, RatanTata-backed artificial intelligence startup Niki.ai, which has dynamic chat capabilities, is now being modeled to act as an insurance agent. Using Niki's chatbot a user can ask umpteen queries about insurance products and the bot could also suggest product categories that the user could consider. This thereby completely eliminates the need of a human agent!
How did they pick?
A number of theme were identified for this programme, which were:
- Internet of things (home, industrial, health and motor),
- Systems of engagement (innovative distribution channels and models, digital assistants/ Robo advisors etc.)'
- Smart analytics (across insurance value chain)
Apart from this, Swiss Re also checked on the important aspect of 'scalability factor - whether the company has the potential to go global or if it's merely an India specific idea.
" For us partnerships is the key and insurance being a $4.4 trillion industry and largely being conventional, there is a huge opportunity for disruption. If we have more startups which get trained by us, for them the business opportunities also expand," Amit said.