• In this episode of This Month, Amplified, Michael Waitze and David Gritz, co-Founder and Managing Director of InsurTech NY, explored significant Supreme Court decisions and their broader implications. They discussed the overturning of the Chevron doctrine, which shifts interpretative power from administrative agencies back to the courts. This change purports to bring more stability to legal interpretations and may reduce the influence of specialized expertise in decision-making. They also examined the legal and social complexities of addressing homelessness, emphasizing that while enforcing laws against public camping can help maintain public order, long-term solutions require increasing affordable housing through changes in zoning laws.

    Additionally, the conversation touched on the precedent-setting nature of decisions on presidential immunity, particularly in the context of Trump v. United States. The ruling upholds certain aspects of presidential immunity, sparking debates about the balance of power and accountability in the executive branch. Gritz highlighted that maintaining a healthy democracy requires holding leaders accountable while allowing them to perform their duties effectively. Overall, the discussion underscored the intricate dynamics of governance and the law in the United States and their impact on society.

  • In this episode of InsurTech Amplified, we had the pleasure of welcoming Alexis Vaughn, the Founder and CEO of OffCourse Consulting back to the pod. Over the past ten months, OffCourse has experienced rapid growth, expanding into multiple entities. A key driver of this success has been strategic partnerships, such as their collaboration with Global Leader Group, which allows them to assist InsurTech companies globally in building and scaling innovation labs. Alexis highlighted the power of visibility through industry presence rather than traditional advertising, sharing how speaking engagements and podcasts have been instrumental in generating leads and establishing credibility.

    Alexis also discussed the importance of addressing specific pain points for carriers and reinsurers, such as the lack of due diligence in evaluating InsurTech partnerships. OffCourse's tech auditing services play a crucial role in ensuring compatibility and effectiveness in these partnerships. Additionally, she touched on the growing interest in parametric products, mobility solutions, and cybersecurity for SMBs. Alexis is passionate about education, working with the University of Connecticut to develop a comprehensive InsurTech course, and fostering entrepreneurship among agents and brokers to turn innovative ideas into viable businesses. OffCourse's evolution into a multifaceted entity underscores the need for adaptability and diversification in the rapidly evolving InsurTech landscape.

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  • In this episode of InsurTech Amplified, Aaron Letzeiser, co-founder and COO of Obie Insurance, shared his journey from a non-traditional insurance background to transforming the insurance process for real estate investors. Aaron and his brother Ryan identified a significant problem in the industry: the lack of transparency and control in obtaining insurance for real estate investments. By leveraging their combined expertise in business and real estate, they created a solution that digitizes the underwriting process, provides instant quotes, and empowers customers to make informed decisions. Aaron's story underscores the importance of empathy, curiosity, and leveraging existing skills to solve real-world problems.

    Aaron also emphasized the value of good partnerships and the impact of embedded insurance. By partnering with strict lenders and integrating the insurance purchasing process into real estate transaction platforms, Obie Insurance ensures compliance and eliminates delays. This innovative approach, called Embedded 2.0, benefits both lenders and buyers, simplifying the insurance process and reducing administrative burdens. Aaron’s experience highlights how technology can transform traditional industries, making processes more efficient and user-friendly, and offering valuable lessons for entrepreneurs and industry professionals alike.

  • In This Month, Amplified, May 2024, David Gritz, co-Founder and Managing Director of InsurTech NY, discussed several critical topics including the U.S. Chips Act, China's technological advancements, and the state of public companies in the U.S. Gritz highlighted the significant yet potentially insufficient impact of China’s $47 billion U.S. fund on the global semiconductor industry. He pointed out China's strategic long-term investments in technology, which, despite currently lagging behind the U.S., aim to close the gap. They also touched on the declining number of public companies in the U.S., emphasizing the importance of public investments for economic democracy and how platforms like Sweater and Allocate are working to democratize venture capital.

    The conversation further explored issues in the U.S. aviation industry, where David underscored the deteriorating customer service and the importance of new legislation ensuring compensation for canceled flights. They delved into the rise of parametric insurance, which offers more efficient claims processes for certain types of events. Finally, they discussed the legal charges against Hunter Biden, viewing it as a test of the U.S. justice system's independence. Throughout the episode, a recurring theme was the human element in policy and technology, emphasizing the far-reaching consequences of decisions made by individuals and governments.

  • "I would say that that is the number one thing that agents tell us they love about Rainbow, and that they believe differentiates Rainbow. It's this idea that I think if you look at the sort of the last 10 to 15 years with InsurTech, there have been more like religious decisions. We do not hire humans, because we have software to do everything. And I think as the standard again, it goes back to sort of how things change as the market evolves, as the role of technology becomes more sophisticated. Sort of the expectations of people are, we also want to be able to talk to someone if we have a question." - Bobby Touran

    In this episode of InsurTech Amplified with Bobby Touran, co-founder and CEO of Rainbow, we explored how technology is reshaping the insurance industry. Bobby emphasized the need for integrating software development DNA into decision-making processes within insurance companies, advocating for a continuous underwriting approach. This method allows for real-time risk assessment and premium adjustments based on dynamic data from businesses, particularly in the restaurant sector. By leveraging data from POS systems, online reviews, and other sources, Rainbow ensures precise risk evaluation and tailored insurance solutions.

    Additionally, Bobby highlighted the importance of strong agent relationships and company culture. Rainbow’s focus on agent success through personalized support and seamless quoting experiences helps agents deliver exceptional service. Bobby also underscored the significance of specialization in underwriting, which allows Rainbow to deeply understand the unique risks of specific industries, like restaurants. This specialization, combined with a culture of kindness, intelligence, and teamwork, positions Rainbow at the forefront of modernizing insurance through technology.

  • “We're all going down the path to net zero. Every government signed it. Everybody sees climate change happening all around us; the floods in Dubai last week. I mean, you can write what you want about cloud seeding, but this is climate change. And it's just going to get really, really onerous. So I think everybody is getting very sensitive to the fact we've got to get net zero. Net zero doesn't solve the problem. Net zero just means the problem doesn't get worse; we've reached peak problem. It doesn't get worse after that. That's what it means, right? But, it means that until we get to net zero in 2050, it gets worse every single year. Hopefully not too exponentially, but it's getting worse every year. And we see that already happening today. The currency of that net zero transition is carbon.” - Coenraad Vrolijk

    In this episode of InsurTech Amplified, Coenraad Vrolijk, the Founder of CarbonPool, shared deep insights into the intersection of climate change, innovation, and insurance. Coenraad emphasized that true innovation in insurance goes beyond mere technological tweaks and involves fundamentally rethinking how risks are managed. He illustrated this with his attempt to lower insurance costs by separating frequency and severity risks. Coenraad's shift to a startup mindset allowed for quicker, more agile decision-making, crucial for driving substantial change.

    He also discussed the critical role of carbon as the currency in achieving net zero emissions. He explained that traditional insurance products are ill-suited for carbon-related risks because they pay out in cash, which doesn't address the underlying issue. CarbonPool innovates by creating a carbon-based balance sheet, enabling payouts in carbon removals instead of cash, aligning with the needs of companies committed to reducing their carbon footprint. With increasing regulatory demands and public disclosures around carbon footprints, CarbonPool's approach positions it at the forefront of a significant shift in both the insurance and carbon markets.

  • But we have a graying of the world that is going on, and there is a cost in the graying of the globe. And that cost is quite simply how are we helping people age on their own terms? What does the next phase of life look like? And how do we help people live in their own terms in their own home for as long as humanly possible? - Larry Nisenson

    In this installment of InsurTech Amplified, Larry Nisenson, Chief Growth Officer of Assured Allies, shared his journey from corporate America to the world of startups. Larry highlighted the difference between incremental corporate innovation and the transformative changes in startups.

    At Assured Allies, his business focuses on "successful aging," helping individuals age on their own terms through wellness techniques and health coaching. They achieve this by addressing specific health issues, like untreated hearing loss and poor sleep quality, to improve overall quality of life. Personalization, driven by data science and AI, ensures that these interventions are effective and engaging.

    Larry also discussed the financial challenges of aging, particularly for those with limited means. Assured Allies collaborates with insurance companies to reduce long-term care costs, providing a model that benefits both insurers and the insured. However, Larry acknowledged the need for innovative financial solutions to help individuals save for future care needs, suggesting long-term care savings plans introduced at a younger age as a potential solution. Through these efforts, Assured Allies aims to transform the aging experience, making it a journey to embrace rather than a challenge to manage.

  • “And when then basically ChatGPT was announced, we all have access also our senior management has access and everybody could explore AI for the first time. It was like a shock for all of us, but a shock in a very, very positive sense. So we knew immediately that is the technology that we need. That is exactly what will make a difference..” – Christian Westermann

    In this episode of InsurTech Amplified, Dr. Christian Westermann shared his fascinating journey from being a physicist specializing in space science to becoming the Group Head of AI at Zurich Insurance. His narrative underscores the value of a multidisciplinary approach, highlighting how diverse experiences in different sectors can significantly enhance one’s problem-solving capabilities and adaptability. Transitioning from technical roles in space missions to tackling technological challenges in the insurance industry, Christian’s career exemplifies the dynamic nature of professional growth and the importance of staying attuned to evolving industry trends.

    Christian also explored the evolving, transformative role of AI in the insurance industry. His insights into the integration of tools like ChatGPT at Zurich Insurance illustrated the profound impact of AI on traditional business operations, emphasizing efficiency and innovation in processing and understanding complex data. Moreover, he expressed a balanced perspective on the potential risks associated with AI, such as data biases and the necessity for rigorous risk management. Through his experiences, Christian highlighted the critical need for continuous learning and adaptation, offering a blueprint for professionals aiming to leverage technology to solve complex industry challenges.

  • Recently, I had the privilege of speaking with Andrew Johnston, the Global Head of InsurTech at Gallagher Re, delving into his ‘Global InsurTech Report for Q1 2024’. Our discussion yielded valuable insights into the evolving landscape of InsurTech, shedding light on key trends and opportunities.

    Here are five notable insights gleaned from our conversation:

    1. The Shift Towards Early-Stage Investments

    One significant trend highlighted by Andrew was the shift towards early-stage investments in the InsurTech space. While there has been a slight decline in overall funding, the number of individual deals has increased, particularly in the early stages. This surge in early-stage investments underscores the vibrant and dynamic nature of the InsurTech ecosystem. Insurers and reinsurers are increasingly recognizing the potential of partnering with innovative startups to drive growth and innovation in the industry.

    2. The Democratization of Funding

    Andrew emphasized the democratization of funding as a notable trend in the InsurTech landscape. Despite the decrease in mega-round funding, there has been a proliferation of smaller deals, indicating a broader distribution of capital across the ecosystem. This democratization of funding is a positive development, as it allows a greater number of startups to access capital and pursue innovative solutions. It also reflects the growing appetite among insurers and reinsurers to invest in early-stage ventures and foster strategic partnerships.

    3. The Rise of Personalized Insurance Solutions

    A compelling example shared by Andrew was the emergence of personalized insurance solutions tailored to specific industries and risk profiles. He highlighted the case of Rainbow, an InsurTech startup specializing in providing customized insurance products for restaurants. By leveraging AI-driven data analysis, Rainbow can assess the unique risk factors associated with individual businesses and tailor insurance policies accordingly. This focus on personalization not only enhances risk management but also improves the overall customer experience, setting a precedent for innovation in the industry.

    4. The Transformative Potential of AI

    Artificial Intelligence (AI) is playing an increasingly pivotal role in driving innovation across various facets of the insurance value chain. Andrew underscored the transformative potential of AI in areas such as underwriting, claims processing, and predictive analytics. By harnessing AI-powered solutions, insurers can streamline operations, enhance risk assessment capabilities, and deliver more personalized services to customers. The integration of AI technologies is enabling insurers to stay ahead of the curve in an increasingly digital and data-driven landscape.

    5. The Importance of Strategic Partnerships

    Lastly, Andrew emphasized the significance of strategic partnerships in driving innovation and growth in the InsurTech sector. As insurers and reinsurers seek to navigate the complexities of the digital age, strategic collaborations with innovative startups can provide access to cutting-edge technologies and expertise. By fostering mutually beneficial partnerships, insurers can accelerate their digital transformation efforts and deliver greater value to customers.

  • "What we're building in Urbanico is an urban intelligence platform that is aimed to help carriers to understand, price, and underwrite risks in a much more granular fashion." - Yuval Shafrir

    In a compelling episode of the InsurTech Amplified, Yuval Shafrir, co-founder and CEO of Urbanico, shared invaluable insights into the unique interplay of resilience and innovation that characterizes the Israeli tech ecosystem, often hailed as the “Startup Nation.” Drawing from his unconventional journey from studying physics and chemistry to embracing entrepreneurship, Yuval underscored the importance of diverse experiences in fostering innovation, particularly in the InsurTech space. His narrative illustrated how various career phases equipped him with a distinctive blend of skills, crucial for navigating the complex landscape of technology and strategic business development.

    Yuval also delved into the inherent resilience embedded within Israeli culture, emphasizing its critical role in shaping entrepreneurial ventures capable of thriving amidst uncertainty. This resilience, as Yuval illustrated, is vital not only for individual startups like Urbanico, which operates in the challenging milieu of Israel’s geopolitical climate, but also for the broader ecosystem that supports collective growth and adaptability.

    Moreover, he highlighted how Urbanico leverages advanced large language models to transform disparate, unstructured data from local governments into actionable insights for the insurance industry, thus bridging significant data gaps and enhancing risk assessment. Yuval’s reflections provide a deep dive into the strategic thinking and adaptive strategies that are essential for startups aiming to leverage technology for scalable and sustainable solutions.

  • InsurTech Amplified, was joined by Rohan Malhotra, CEO of Roadzen, to discuss the transformative role of artificial intelligence and connectivity in auto insurance. Rohan guides us through the evolutionary phases of auto insurance—from private ownership to autonomous mobility—and highlights the impact of AI in revolutionizing risk assessment, policy underwriting, and claims processing.

    As vehicles become increasingly connected, they not only serve as transport but transform into platforms for entertainment, financial transactions, and more, bringing new challenges and opportunities for insurers. Rohan also describes a vision of the future where cars, fully integrated with digital technologies, could potentially reshape our daily lives and the very fabric of auto insurance.

  • InsurTech Amplified attended InsurTech NY's 2024 Spring Conference to conduct some 'sideline interviews'.

    Much like the immediate post-game interviews with athletes fresh off the field, we captured the raw, unfiltered thoughts and reactions of the keynote speakers the moment they stepped off the stage.

    We delved into the innovative minds shaping the future of insurance technology. From groundbreaking strategies to disruptive technologies, you'll get exclusive firsthand insights directly from the visionaries behind them.

    InsurTech Amplified spoke to:

    Scott Ham, CEO of Pinpoint Predictive

    Cameron Torstenson, EVP, CMO of EMC National Life

    Steve Shaffer, CEO of Homesteaders Life Company

    Isaac Espinoza, SVP at Root

    Wendi Bukowitz, VP Strategic Innovation at The Cincinnati Insurance Companies

    Andrew Wynn, co-Founder and the CEO at Ascend

    Philip Charles-Pierre, CEO of Semsee

    Roi Hansaraj, Principal Partner at InsurTechNY

    Denise Campbell, SVP Client Executive at Marsh

    Ramsey Smith, Founder and CEO ALEX.fyi

    James Benham, co-Founder and CEO of JBKnowledge

  • "Every time I look at business, and naturally, any entrepreneur, any person in charge of running a business growing, it wants to grow bigger, you say, what are my limitations? If I expand the business and touch the next concentric circle, right outside of what I'm doing, I will be able to address a larger segment of the public." - Todd Greenbaum

    In this episode, Todd Greenbaum, the President and CEO of Input 1, detailed the origins and evolution of Input 1, which was founded by his grandfather who shifted from operating an insurance brokerage to establishing a finance company to handle premium financing. This move capitalized on the observation that many customers financed their insurance premiums. Over the years, and with significant involvement from Todd, who began programming for the company at 16, Input 1 transformed into a technology-driven firm providing comprehensive solutions for banks and insurance companies.

    Todd discussed the importance of customizing services to meet client needs, explaining how Input 1 adapts its software for 95% of its clients, enhancing their operational efficiency and customer interactions. He emphasized the necessity of continual adaptation and learning to keep pace with technological advancements in the InsurTech space.

    By merging generational business wisdom with modern technology, Input 1 has stayed relevant and competitive. Todd’s narrative underscored a deep commitment to understanding and innovating within the intricacies of insurance finance, billing, and the overall client experience.

  • "So much has changed that I think first and foremost, there has been just a reality check on both sides of the equation in as much as I think insurers and reinsurers are far better equipped now to understand the value of technology, particularly as it relates to their own businesses...because they haven't seen disruption at large, I think that there's less fear." - Andrew Johnston

    In this episode, Andrew Johnston, the Global Head of InsurTech at Gallagher Re discusses InsurTech's evolving landscape and his eclectic journey from studying abroad in Japan to shearing alpacas and eventually gravitating towards the insurance sector.

    Andrew notes the transformative trajectory of InsurTech, from initial apprehensions about technological disruption to a more nuanced understanding of technology as an integral enabler within the insurance industry.

    Andrew discusses the recent dynamics of InsurTech funding, noting a shift from large, speculative investments to more strategic, value-driven funding approaches by insurers and reinsurers. The conversation emphasizes the critical role of founder mindset, highlighting the success of those who approach the industry with humility and a willingness to integrate into the complex insurance landscape. It also touches on the challenges and opportunities in expanding InsurTech's role beyond traditional frameworks to include value-added services, aiming to more deeply embed technology in enhancing customer experiences and outcomes.

  • In today’s fast-paced world, the intersection of insurance, technology, and current events often leads to intriguing and complex discussions.

    This Month, Amplified had just one of those discussions with David Gritz about the events of last month...including InsurTechNY's recent Spring Conference.

    We also spent a decent amount of time talking about Trump's surety bond...and its role in the current legal context.

    The conversation took an intriguing turn when discussing a the recent incident on Baltimore and the crash of a cargo ship into the Francis Scott Key Bridge. This led to an exploration of the Limitation of Liability Act of 1851, emphasizing how age-old laws continue to influence modern insurance claims and liabilities.

    David also highlighted State Farm General's recent downgrade by AM Best and its broader implications for the insurance market and homeowners, especially in California, pointing to a potential need for the industry and regulators to adapt to the realities of climate change and market dynamics.

  • "Investors... are like, well, if Marsh hasn't done this before, and Microsoft can't do it, and Google doesn't have anything... How could you possibly, some chick in insurance in Florida, think you're the smartest person?" - Margeaux Giles

    In a fascinating conversation with Margeaux Giles, CEO of IRYS InsurTech, her unconventional entry into insurance to building a technological revolution within the industry highlights how entrepreneurship and innovation can drive real change. Margeaux’s journey, marked by a pivot from founding a startup focused on mitigating late-night driving risks to addressing inefficiencies in the insurance sector, underscores the industry's openness to innovation. Her transition not only highlights the importance of diverse experiences in enriching the sector but also showcases the potential of entrepreneurial thinking in identifying and solving problems.

    The creation of IRYS stems from Margeaux’s realization of the fragmented and legacy processes that have long characterized the insurance industry. By centering the customer in IRYS's operational model and harnessing technology to improve efficiency and responsiveness, Margeaux details a vision for modernizing insurance. IRYS’ approach, advocating for customer-centric models and technological adoption, presents a blueprint for transformation.

    Furthermore, Margeaux’s insights into the demographic shifts within the insurance workforce suggest an impending knowledge gap, one that technology, and platforms like IRYS, can bridge by facilitating knowledge transfer and enhancing the skill set of new entrants.

    Margeaux reminds us that the path to innovation is often paved with challenges, learning, and an unwavering resolve to make a difference.

  • In this episode of InsurTech Amplified, Paul Prendergast, co-founder and CEO of Kayna Innovation explores the transformative journey of InsurTech. Paul shares his own evolution from a tech enthusiast to an InsurTech pioneer, highlighting his initial ventures into mobile device security before spearheading innovation with Blink Parametric, one of the early ventures in parametric insurance.

    The episode delves into the challenge and success of introducing parametric insurance, emphasizing the importance of education and perseverance in fostering industry acceptance. Paul’s latest venture, Kayna Innovation, focuses on bridging the protection gap for small businesses through embedded insurance, leveraging data from vertical SaaS platforms to streamline the insurance process, ensure adequate coverage, and enhance risk management.

    Key insights from the conversation include the power of data in personalizing insurance products, the potential for embedded insurance to revolutionize small business protection, and the synergistic opportunities between traditional insurers and InsurTech startups.

  • InsurTech Amplified had a lot of fun speaking with Stuart Winchester, the CEO of Marble. Stuart shared his unique path into the insurance industry, initially diverging from his family's insurance background to explore other fields, ultimately coming home to roost in the insurance space and leading to the inception of Marble. Our discussion underscores the importance of leveraging diverse experiences and cross-disciplinary skills to foster innovation in the traditionally conservative insurance sector, highlighting Marble's mission to revolutionize insurance distribution through technology.

    Our conversation highlights the opportunities and challenges in engaging customers and personalizing the insurance experience in an era dominated by digital interactions. Stuart’s insights into using real-time data for developing responsive insurance solutions, and the potential for future integration and co-creation with tech giants and consumers, imagine a promising picture for the InsurTech industry. This conversation not only sheds light on the evolving landscape of insurance distribution but also emphasizes the critical role of technology in bridging the gap between traditional insurance models and the needs of the modern consumer, signaling a shift towards more accessible, engaging, and tailored insurance offerings.

  • In another thought-provoking episode of "This Month, Amplified," David Gritz, co-founder and Managing Director of InsurTechNY, shared his personal connection to the awe of space and the societal benefits of looking beyond our immediate surroundings for inspiration. He reflects on the technological feats required for space exploration, emphasizing the importance of precision in life support, launch protocols, and the physics of space travel.

    The conversation also addresses the challenges and opportunities presented by modern technology. David discusses a recent AT&T outage as a cautionary tale about the vulnerabilities of our digital infrastructure and the need for robust testing and maintenance protocols. He further explores the ramifications of data privacy and cybersecurity breaches, using the incident at Mr. Cooper as a case study to underscore the urgency for individuals and companies to safeguard digital information.

    A significant focus of the discussion is on the transformative potential of data-driven policies in the insurance industry, illustrated by the success of Root Insurance. David outlines the journey of an insurance company from startup to profitability, highlighting the necessity of patience, innovation, and adaptation to emerging challenges.

  • In this episode of InsurTech Amplified, the podcast engages with Sri Ramaswamy, the founder and CEO of Charlee.ai, to hear her extraordinary journey as an entrepreneur in the insurance technology space. Sri's narrative is a testament to the power of embracing change and navigating adversity with resilience. Bypassing familial expectations, she pivoted from hotel management to data analytics, and the eventual leap into the insurance industry, underscoring the potential of embracing unpredictable twists and leveraging them for growth and innovation.

    The conversation digs deeper into how Sri harnessed unique insights and her intuitive grasp of artificial intelligence to address the insurance industry's complex challenges, culminating in the founding and building of Charlee.ai. The platform represents a significant advancement in the field of insurance technology, effectively converting unstructured data into useful insights that can drive decision-making in the industry.

    Sri Ramaswamy's path to establishing Charlee.ai underlines some key entrepreneurial qualities: determination, adaptability, and foresight. Her approach to viewing challenges as avenues for development, paired with her dedication to introducing novel solutions, serves as a real-life example of how innovation can bring about substantial change and underscores the importance of flexibility and adaptability in navigating and instigating true transformation.