Zurich invites world’s best insurtech innovators to collaborate

Zurich Championship Start-up insurtech

Zurich has called on the global insurtech community to devise new solutions to help transform key areas of its business, opening submissions for its upcoming Innovation Championship.

Announcing the launch of its fourth successive global start-up competition – hailed by the insurance giant as the “largest global open innovation contest with start-ups in the insurance sector” – Zurich invited a fresh round of insurtech developers to come up with new, tech-driven solutions to help meet emerging and evolving needs of its customers.

“Following past successes, Zurich is inviting start-ups once again to compete for the opportunity to collaborate on solutions tailored to the needs of customers and the insurance industry,” the company said in its announcement.

This year, start-ups can sign up to develop solutions in one of five categories: Customer Experience (developing “sophisticated and customised… best-in-class” CX solutions), Commercial Insurance (developing tailored solutions and risk services), Distribution Partnerships (helping the insurer elevate its existing partner relationships and attract new distribution partners), Digital Enablement (utilising technology to Zurich improve its agility and efficiency), and Sustainability (supporting the insurer’s goal of helping society “transition to a more environmentally, socially and economically sustainable world”).

This year’s Championship will operate as a year-long tournament, lasting from January to December, Zurich said. Ten members of Zurich’s global leadership team will select between two to three initiatives per category by the end of April, with a subsequent accelerator phase, stretching four months from end-May to end-September. Those selected for this phase will be granted project funding of US$100,000.

“By end-December 2023, the proven initiatives will have kicked off, bringing to life the joint proposition,” Zurich said.

The first three editions of the annual Championship, launched for the first time in 2018-19, have resulted in 30 ongoing collaborations between the insurer and the start-up community, including “leading players” F6S, Plug and Play, and SOSA.

Of these 30 collaborations, Zurich said, 22 “have generated significant value” for the business.

The Championship attracted 458 entrants in its first year. Last year, more than 2,760 start-ups entered.

Zurich group chief strategy officer, Paolo Mantero, hailed the collaborative value of the Championship, helping, he said, the insurer “[foster] a new way of thinking” as well as gain “access to ideas and solutions we may not yet have ourselves”.

Australian start-ups have achieved success in previous Championships, with Pops Diabetes Care, an AI-backed diabetes management system, sharing the 2020-21 crown with three other global start-ups. The solution, which battled against more than 1,350 entrants that year, was co-developed and backed by LiveWell by Zurich and Zurich Australia’s life insurance business.

Interested businesses can register here for the 2023 edition of the Championship.