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Zurich announces winners of global startup program | Insurance Business Canada

The winners will tackle challenges in various fields

Zurich announces winners of global startup program

Insurance News

Kenneth Araullo

Zurich Insurance Group has announced the nine winners of its global startup initiative, the Zurich Innovation Championship, aimed at leveraging technology to transform customer experience.

The selected initiatives focus on simplifying and accelerating underwriting and claims processes, enhancing customer retention and support through health solutions, and promoting climate resilience. These initiatives address local challenges with potential global impacts for the company.

The Zurich Innovation Championship, an open innovation contest for startups in the financial services industry, received over 3,300 applications in just four weeks. The program currently has around 40 ongoing collaborations with past contestants.

“Technology continues to advance rapidly, and we must keep innovating at pace. All of this year’s winners use AI to redefine risk assessment, underwriting, claims, and customer interaction. By working together with these startups, we can rapidly leverage those new ideas and technologies to deliver a standout customer experience,” group chief innovation and digital officer Ericson Chan said.

Zurich Innovation Championship 2024 winners

This year’s winners, across four challenge categories and two additional wild card selections, are as follows:

Commercial Insurance: CLIMADA Technologies, Sixfold

CLIMADA will work with Zurich Resilience Solutions to launch a tool for quantifying property damage and business interruption due to climate risk. This tool aims to provide global customers with financial benefits from climate adaptation measures.

Sixfold, on the other hand, will collaborate with Zurich North America to improve underwriting efficiency using its AI platform. The platform is designed to enhance underwriter capacity and accuracy while saving time for brokers and customers.

Digital Simplification: Parloa GmbH, Merlynn

Parloa will team up with Zurich Germany to enhance customer service through AI automation. This initiative aims to manage repetitive inquiries, allowing more resources to be allocated to complex customer concerns.

Merlynn and Zurich North America will develop digital twins of insurance knowledge workers, automating decisions based on expert human input to improve loss outcomes, reduce training times, and enhance claims process consistency.

Life & Health: NalaGenetics, AccuHealth

NalaGenetics will work with Zurich Malaysia to create a personalised care programme using genetic tests for chronic disease management. This programme aims to provide early risk identification and personalised care plans for chronic conditions.

AccuHealth and Zurich Chile will explore mitigating chronic disease impacts on insurance claims through a data-driven digital service for B2B2E customers. The service will collect biomarker data to run personalised health programmes, aiming to control chronic illnesses and reduce absenteeism for employers, potentially lowering premiums in the long term.

LoyJoy, a conversational AI platform, will collaborate with Zurich Germany to enhance customer service, sales, and marketing via chat and social media. The platform’s personalised communication and gamification features aim to engage younger customers and facilitate booking consultation appointments.

Wild card winners: AlphaGeo, MentionMe

AlphaGeo, a geospatial data science company, will work with Zurich Group Investment Management to optimise the Global Real Estate portfolio. Using AlphaGeo’s AI-powered analytics, the collaboration aims to identify regions with higher growth prospects, enhancing investment performance and asset valuations.

MentionMe, a customer advocacy intelligence platform, will partner with Zurich UK to convert Net Promoter Score promoters into active customer referrals, aiming to increase customer retention in line with Zurich’s loyalty strategy.

“Solutions that are tailored to customers and their evolving needs are the future of insurance. Whether it’s making the financial impact of climate risks more tangible, improving underwriting efficiency or creating personalised health programmes, these innovative initiatives can truly transform the industry,” group chief strategy officer Paolo Mantero said.

The Zurich Innovation Championship uses a venture-client approach to collaborate with startups. The winners will enter a four-month accelerator to pilot the practical viability of their initiatives and prepare business plans with Zurich business units.

The nine startups will receive both financial and non-financial support, including coaching by Zurich executives and subject-matter experts. Successful initiatives will be announced in September 2024.

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