Ever Heard of BrokerTech Ventures? It’s Here to Retool Insurance

What value can be added to the industry when brokers and technology collide? BrokerTech Ventures is at that crossroads, funneling innovation into insurance.
By: | February 6, 2022

The pace of change within the risk and insurance industry is not slowing anytime soon.

The innovative use of technology is changing how we do business every day. And BrokerTech Ventures (BTV) is a new solution designed to continue challenging our industry by combining two critical components of the insurance value chain — brokers and technology.

What Is BTV?

Broken into five parts, or towers, BTV provides a space for innovation and technology to come together with brokers and carriers.

First, BTV hosts an accelerator for technology-focused broker-centric startups to seek seed money and advance their goals.

Some of the 2021 startups participating in the accelerator offer broad solutions to appeal to many brokers and carriers, like social media lead mining, enhanced workers’ comp software, or a platform to help predict consumer behavior. Others provide more niche solutions, like a surety bond provider or a telehealth solution. Most of the startups are U.S.-based, with one based in the Netherlands (Surfly).

The second tower after the accelerator is investments. BTV provides opportunities for early-stage investments for companies advancing the roles of brokers through technology.

The third tower is a strong focus on innovation through smart partnerships between BTV partners, stakeholders and the industry.

Strategic capital and media partnerships round out the five towers at BTV, providing needed funding and greater industry awareness.

Susan Hatten, chief operating officer of BrokerTech Ventures, commented on the space BTV fills within the industry: “Our primary role is to help our clients identify their risks sooner and to drive down their costs faster. In doing so, we create healthier books of business for our carrier partners. If there is a technology out there doing so, we want to meet them.”

Infinite Game Philosophy Drives Progress at BTV

BTV has a goal of being in the industry for the long haul. It follows the Infinite Game Philosophy developed by Simon Sinek, which promotes the idea that there are no winners or losers in life and business, rather only those who are ahead or behind. With an infinite mindset, everyone can succeed together.

The infinite theory applied to business means building stronger teams focused on the future and finding long-term sustainable solutions. And this is essentially the same philosophy that drives risk and insurance solutions.

Hatten commented, “BrokerTech Ventures is rooted in the Infinite Game philosophy — coined by Simon Sinek. We surround ourselves with ‘worthy rivals’ to lean in, learn, listen and advance our cause. We, through BTV and our broker and carrier partners, are in this for the long game. We believe in rising the tide — to lift all boats, to advance the industry for decades to come.”

The wave of Insurtech solutions is vast, and finding the right solution for the right problem can be like looking for a needle in a haystack.

That rising tide Hatten mentions is possible through the combination of innovative technology applied intelligently to insurance and risk management challenges. That’s where the incubator tower fits into the model — developing startup partners for existing and future industry problems gives BTV an advantage in promoting the right solution.

BrokerTech Ventures Provides Unique Value

BTV is designed for agents and brokers to provide additional value to their customers.

Mike McIntire, chief technology officer at the Graham Company, a broker investor partner of BTV, spoke about the value policyholders need from their agents.

“Agents have come to the realization that a successful relationship with a customer is about more than just placing coverage,” he said. “It’s about providing risk management services for customers. And that’s been a cornerstone of the Graham proposal to customers forever, but now along with the process and people, we’re now bringing in the technology as well.”

McIntire expanded on the value BTV has helped him provide to his clients. He noted they have focused their efforts in three main areas: safety services and programs for their large clients through delivering programs to improve the safety culture; and the data value chain between carrier and customer.

Brokers have always been about establishing good relationships and promoting risk mitigation strategies. With innovative technology enabling even more risk management, brokers are better positioned to be true partners to their clients.

BrokerTech Ventures Designed to Advance the Relevance of the Broker

While many in our industry focus on technology and the value-add from Insurtech, BTV is also focused on the value derived from the human touch.

“We exist to serve our industry, and to advance the relevance of the broker, in the insurance value-chain,” said Hatten.

She continued explaining how BTV is different, even though it is often classified only as an incubator because of its work with ventures: “We have been intentional, every step of the way, as we have built BrokerTech Ventures. BrokerTech Ventures is often classified within other accelerator and/or incubator models. Where many of the most notable brands are either industry agnostic and/or insurance industry driven, we do not see [them] as immediately parallel.”

BTV’s focus on broker-centric Insurtech solutions from incubator through investment has carved a unique position in the marketplace. Adding value for brokers is critical as the company continues playing an important role in the insurance distribution system.

Technology is the way to the future — when paired with human intervention. &

Twelve companies make up the class of 2021, and another 12 startups completed the 2020 accelerator class. The applications have closed for the 2022 accelerator. Interested startups should watch for news on 2023 applications.

Abi Potter Clough, MBA, CPCU, is a keynote speaker, author and business consultant focused on Insurtech, leadership and strategy. She has over 15 years of experience at a Fortune 500 company with expertise in P&C claims operational leadership, lean management consulting, digital communications and Insurtech. As the past chair of the International Insurance Interest Group of the CPCU Society, Abi remains involved in many international initiatives and projects. She has published two books about change management and relocation. Abi can be reached at [email protected].

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