As the BrokerTech Ventures (BTV) Accelerator Executive Director, I’ve been awarded the great privilege to help build something great in the industry with the help of brokers, carriers, and startups alike.
For those of you who aren’t quite sure what BTV is, it’s the world’s first broker-led innovation and insurtech platform. In simplest terms, brokers are the primary distribution channel for insurance with a direct lens into the client experience. As part of this, BTV was developed to provide a venue for the best minds in insurance and technology to collaborate and bring to market leading-edge ideas and solutions.
What BTV may be best known for is our Accelerator, which launched in the fall of 2019. Nearly three years later, we’ve approached more than 200 applicants from around the world for our first three cohorts. What’s great about this number is that with each insurtech review, BTV is able to glean a plethora of data and insights into where insurtech is headed.
Through our Accelerator pipeline and rolling from 2019 to 2022, we’ve seen expanded diversity — in terms of founder and team makeup, line of business, geography, and product journey. We’ve also seen a shift happening.
The first year (2019), in particular, most startups in the BTV Accelerator pipeline were focused on agency back office technology and automating processes for insurance agent efficiency. There weren’t as many focused on employee benefits, unique insurance products, or health.
In 2022, we’re seeing a significant uptick in all of those areas. We’ve been incredibly pleased to see an expanded applicant pool within the health benefits, clinical, and critical illness space. With healthcare remaining as the largest spend in our economy, we believe that BTV can make a difference in identifying winners in this category. Additionally, we’re seeing a big focus on the marketing and client engagement segments. And while Specialty/Surety has the lowest number of startups (specific to BTV) indicating their focus, it’s taken a huge jump even since last year.
Consistent or Upward Trends
Commercial Property and Casualty insurance solutions continue to be a focus for startups (think claims services, risk avoidance products, and sophisticated underwriting tools).
Artificial intelligence (AI) and analytics solutions both saw a major uptick last year, and they continue to be on the upswing. As AI, machine learning (ML), and technology, in general, become more sophisticated, I believe this category will continue to grow. If startups can produce solutions that allow brokers and carriers to focus their time on client retention, growth, and removing repetitive, manual tasks through automation or AI, they will be ahead of the game. And if I had a crystal ball, that’s what we’ll be seeing much more of.
The Future of Insurtech
Change is about the only constant we can rely on. Insurtech startups tend to be the leading indicator on areas of both opportunity and inefficiencies. While the jury is still out as to which startups will ultimately end up being part of BTV’s program, I can say the shift we’re seeing opens up new opportunities for the industry as we work to help clients identify risks sooner and drive down costs faster. Stay tuned as we move through our selection process later this spring.