Innovation in Hartford
Since 2016, Hartford has rapidly focused on supporting the growing Insurtech sector of the business. Our Connecticut Insurance and Financial Services, or CT IFS, is a statewide initiative of the MetroHartford Alliance comprised of 30 member companies in Connecticut’s insurance and financial services sector. This organization organizes events each year that bring emerging technologies and startups in front of all the major companies. In addition, the state in partnership with local universities created Innovation Places to foster growth in this sector.
Startupbootcamp runs programs each year to bring startups to Hartford from around the world. Upward Hartford has created a community and open-space work environment for many different types of startups in the center of downtown. In addition, Insurtech Hartford regularly organizes some of the most well-attended events and hackathons in the region.
The entire Hartford ecosystem continues to grow rapidly because of the work of local industry, universities, regulators, and elected officials at both the local and state levels. The list of places where innovation happens gets longer every year. We expand to add to the list in the near future.
Connecticut carriers rank fifth in direct written life insurance premium throughout the U.S. Life insurance carriers in the Hartford area provide protection through a variety of sales channels - agents, banks, financial advisors, and direct to consumer. In addition, a number of the carriers, like Nassau Financial Group, offer annuities to help individuals live comfortably in retirement.
In the life insurance sector, carriers continue to look for innovative ways to close a national gap in insurance coverage. Few individuals have the coverage they need to protect their families in case something bad happens to them. Rapid changes in technology and communications open new possibilities to solve this problem. Will products like microinsurance fill the gap? Answering these types of questions will require great startups.
Similarly, retirement planning offers tremendous opportunities for actuaries to help. Few individuals have saved sufficient funds to retire in the manner they deserve. How do we create products that encourage meaningful contributions over time? How can we make the funds they do have work more efficiently in a low interest environment? Startups can balance the promise of technology, new payment methods, increased life expectancy, and investment risk to meet these requirements. To help us in the process, we benefit from having the research headquarters of LIMRA, based in nearby Windsor, CT.
Most major reinsurers have established offices in the Hartford area to be near their primary clients as well next to a natural source of talent. This sector has experienced tremendous consolidation in the last 10 years. A handful of companies now claim a very large share of traditional reinsurance transactions.
However, as the insurance market has rapidly changed, demand for specialized reinsurance expertise has significantly increased. The globalization of the economy, environmental challenges, evolution of financial markets, and, of course, the rapid emergence of new technology have created the need for new products and new pricing models.
Reinsurers in Connecticut drive and support most of the Insurtech-related initiatives in the industry in some manner. The reinsurers may make direct investments in startups. They may advise on marketing and pricing. And, of course, they often step first to the table to assume most the new emerging risks.
Providing access to quality and affordable health care continues to challenge public officials, insurers, the medical profession, and related industries. Health insurance actuaries find themselves on the forefront of providing analysis that will help these players improve healthcare quality, lower costs and increase outcomes for both individual patients and the overall population.
Four large health insurers in Greater Hartford hire actuaries locally to help solve this problem. The Hartford and neighboring communities boast a strong health care sector - not only through a vibrant insurance community, but also through a number of good local hospitals and strong medical education programs. Partnerships between insurers and providers form easily across town.
Just as in all sectors, emerging technology to change the way healthcare is delivered, monitored, and reduced. Artificial learning continues to show great promise in better assessing and monitoring risks. Personal devices increasingly help individuals manage personal health conditions, like heart conditions and diabetes. Actuaries will play an important role evaluating the performance and determining whether to invest resources.
A large number of consulting firms in the Greater Hartford area work for a diverse set of clients on a wide range of problems≥
Several firms in the area run large offices that directly support the needs of primary carriers in traditional product work. They may help price, monitor, and manage new, highly specialized, or problematic sets of products. They often support valuation work during merger & acquisitions efforts. Sometimes they provide strategic recommendations for the most important business decisions that companies make.
Other consulting firms in Hartford provide general consulting and account services for a broad array of companies.
Other firms focus on solving specific business problems requiring the ability calculate and analyze statistics, make forecasts, and provide the most accurate information to clients to help them make business decisions.
|Ernst & Young
|Scio Health Analytics
|Willis Towers Watson
Property and casualty insurance has been a part of the business landscape in Hartford for more than 200 years, with an early advertisement for fire insurance appearing in the Connecticut Courant in 1794. Centuries later, Connecticut carriers rank fifth in property and casualty direct written premium throughout the U.S.
Today, actuaries still evaluate many of the same risks - fire, flood, and accidents - but with new types of data. Pricing models include data drawn from satellites, wearables, miniature weather sensors, and even drones.
Will driverless cars drive premiums down because of reduced accidents? Or will premiums increase because of more expensive vehicles and distracted driving?
Will the sharing economy bring more people into homes and create greater chances of claims? Or will the connected home automatically reduce the likelihood of fire and flood, the two largest home claims risks that carriers manage?
Startups in the property & casualty sector wrestle with these and many other interesting issues today. Our close proximity to top research and high-tech manufacturing facilities will facilitate much collaboration and innovation in this arena.