The Zurich Innovation Championship has cemented its reputation as an attractive global contest for startups, with applications rising three-fold from the level of the Chisel, whose product promises to speed up admin, by deploying AI to read policy documents about 400 times faster than any human eye could manage.. Last year’s winner was
A total of 1,358 submissions were received with ideas reflecting the tournament theme of ‘Protecting the Next Generation’, with 168 applications coming from UK-based start-ups. They include businesses as varied as a manufacturer of paints that use sunlight for cooling, an insect farm, and a community driven platform that empowers women by strengthening their financial knowledge.
The number of UK applications is the second highest if ranked by country submissions, which demonstrates the appetite of UK start-ups to collaborate with corporate partners to better serve the needs of a modern customer.
Editor’s note: Everyone in the insurance industry knows that insurtech is a sector within itself in the UK, not just a buzzword. There are hundreds of companies embracing transformation, AI, automated systems, designing new products, apps, and coming up PAYG insurance products that fit the modern online lifestyle. The opportunities for partnerships in 2020 and beyond are huge.
“When we launched the Zurich Innovation Championship in 2018, we were excited to see where the journey would take us, but we never expected the kind of response we have received. It’s incredible!” said Stuart Domingos, Group Head of Innovation.
“And it’s not just about numbers. Many exceptional ideas were submitted and we are looking forward to hearing about how they can help us deliver truly tailored services to our customers.”
Applications to the competition, launched in September 2019 at InsureTech Connect in Las Vegas, came from 68 countries and territories, well above 49 in the first edition. Participants come from Nepal, Uganda, Peru, Gambia, the Åland Islands and Tuvalu as well as better-known and established tech centers such as the U.S., Spain and the UK.
Opportunity of a lifetime
The strong response reaffirms the validity of Zurich Insurance Group’s goal to explore new frontiers of innovation through this competition. Now in its second edition, the contest offers startups the opportunity of a lifetime to grow their customer base on a commercial scale as well as provide them with the industry knowledge that Zurich has garnered over a period of almost 150 years.
By the end of February 2020, Zurich will select 26 startups and work with to develop their ideas. In June 2020 the field will be narrowed to eight finalists, with three global winners announced later in 2020.
Mark Budd, Head of Innovation at Zurich in the UK added: “Zurich is constantly identifying innovative new ways to serve our customers as ever evolving technologies can enable new products and services that simply were not previously possible. The trick however is to match the right technologies to the customer need. It’s fantastic to see so many UK start-ups thinking along the same lines and we’re excited to talk to them more in the coming few weeks as we look for our UK champion.”