Tech And Biotech: Boosting IT – Insurance Tech Next!

By Judy Newman
The Wisconsin State Journal

WWR Article Summary (tl;dr)  Leaders in the entrepreneurial community say that if health IT startups are all the rage, insurance startups are headed there!  There could be some great opportunities in this sector for women entrepreneurship.  One idea that is being developed right now includes a plan where groups of people could buy car insurance together. What’s your next great idea?

The Wisconsin State Journal

What if you could buy car insurance that would cover you only for the miles you drive your car, instead of year-round, 24 hours a day?

Or how about joining with your friends to buy car insurance as a group and qualifying for discounts if no one in the group gets into an accident?

Those are some of the possibilities being developed by startups around the U.S.

Metromile, of San Francisco, offers coverage by the mile, and Lemonade, of New York City, is among those planning to offer small group coverage.

If health IT startups are all the rage, insurance startups are headed there, leaders in the entrepreneurial community say.

So gener8tor — the Madison/Milwaukee business accelerator — and Lightbank — a $200 million Chicago venture capital fund started by Groupon’s founders — are staging the OnRamp Insurance Conference in Chicago on March 31.

It is the first such conference in the country, said Sara Woldt, gener8tor’s director of business development. She said the idea is to address the “disruption” going on in the insurance industry.

“Lots of startups … are creating solutions that are really changing how some of these corporations are selling insurance or working with their claim holders,” Woldt said.

More than two dozen big-name insurance firms are signed up to participate, including American Family Insurance and CUNA Mutual Group, both of Madison, as well as six other Wisconsin insurance companies and Harley-Davidson.

At least 60 startups are scheduled to make presentations to the companies, including six from Madison: AltusCampus; Catalyze; EnsoData; Telematic; Quietyme; and Understory.

Venture capitalists also will attend.

Woldt said the conference is meant to bring the groups together to see how entrepreneurs can work with large corporations to create strategic partnerships and, in some cases, to talk about investment opportunities.

The most impressive U.S. startups and the most active investors have been invited, she said.

Some of the young companies have new concepts for the insurance industry while others may have insurers as their customers, said Woldt. “There’s a multiplicity of opportunities that could be discussed.”

AIG, Allstate, Northwestern Mutual, Prudential, Sentry Insurance, State Farm and Kaiser Permanente are among the companies set to attend.

According to CB Insights, funds invested in insurance tech companies topped $2.5 billion in 2015.

“As startups continue to disrupt segments of the insurance industry, there is a need for all the innovators and players in insurance to get in the same room together,” the conference website says.


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