Launching the Insurtech Networking Centre DAC (INC)
The South East is set to become the engine of Ireland's insurance sector with the announcement by Institute of Technology Carlow on Wednesday of an innovative Insurtech Centre.
The facility will enable insurance innovation, develop insurance sector talent and add significantly to Ireland's attractiveness for foreign direct investment in the insurance and insurtech space, resulting in 50 new businesses and supporting the creation of 300 jobs by 2022.
Insurtech Networking Centre DAC (INC) is a new development by IT Carlow in collaboration with Enterprise Ireland under the Regional Enterprise Development Fund 2017-2020 and in partnership with Wexford County Council and Carlow County Council.
INC is supported by international and domestic insurance companies UNUM, Wrightway, VHI and Zurich Insurance, all of which have existing operations employing more than 1,000 people in the region.
INC will collaborate with insurance sector incumbents to create growth by utilising the research and innovation capabilities of Institute of Technology Carlow, particularly in areas where the Institute is strong, such as Data Science, Design Thinking, Software & Games Development, Internet of Things and Distributed Ledger Technology.
Commencing September 2019, incumbent collaboration with Insurtech start-ups will be facilitated through an Insurtech Accelerator programme focused on insurance sector challenges, with solutions to these challenges provided by Insurtech start-ups, aligned with industry requirements.
IT Carlow will also foster an insurance talent pool through its Lifelong Learning centre, focusing on education and training in Insurance, Insurtech and Data Science.
INC is unique in that it will facilitate the Irish insurance sector at all levels, from retail insurance brokers through to international businesses, in gaining access to Insurtech and insurance innovation resources across all functions, regardless of size, operational profile or complexity.
INC will not seek any equity stake-hold as it is focused on accelerating, launching and scaling start-ups.
Headquartered at a €1million purpose-built facility at IT Carlow's main campus, which is due for completion by mid-2020, INC will use online blended learning to evolve into a centre of thought leadership, innovation and excellence in the Insurtech space, both nationally and internationally.
Speaking at Wednesday's announcement, Dr Patricia Mulcahy, President of IT Carlow said: "The Insurance sector faces enormous challenges both globally and locally.
"Insurtech start-ups have disrupted the traditional insurance market, new technologies have enabled innovation across the value chain, while millennials seek out more frequent and meaningful interactions with Insurers.
"This ultra-competitive environment requires fresh thinking from incumbents who must embrace innovation in order to gain and maintain a sustainable competitive advantage.
"INC provides an unprecedented opportunity for the insurance sector to meet these emerging challenges head-on by engaging with the educational resources of Institute of Technology Carlow, enabling expansion through access to research and innovation with support from Enterprise Ireland, and collaborating with innovative Insurtech start-ups in the INC Insurtech accelerator that is focused on solving real world challenges faced by the sector.
"I’d like to thank Declan Doyle, Vice-President for Development and Research, who led the bid to secure the funding for this important national and regional initiative."
Darren Smith, Business Development Manager for Insurtech Networking Centre DAC, said: "Start-ups will gain access (via EI supports) to academics and researchers engaged in highly applicable research fields - Analytics, IoT, Software and Games Development, Blockchain – at Institute of Technology Carlow.
"The industry partnership approach means an intensive focus on solutions as mentoring will be delivered by domain level experts from the Insurance industry.
"The insurance industry is seeing the greatest benefit – and the highest levels of disruption – from the global upsurge of innovation.
"Data from CB Insights reveals that global Insurtech investment totalled US$1.7bn in 2016, with both the volume and value of deals having roughly doubled since 2014.
"Insurtech is now a truly global trend and INC will be a centre of innovation and excellence in this space, for the regional, national and international insurance sector," said Colette Lane, Chief Administration Officer, UNUM.
There are over 230 insurance businesses operating in Ireland, employing a total of more than 28,000 people, directly and indirectly.
The Irish insurance industry holds €303 billion in assets in Ireland and generates €32billion premium income from domestic and international customers.