India: Zurich-headquartered reinsurance major Swiss Re is setting up a first-of-its-kind insurancetech accelerator in Bengaluru to tap into Indian startups, as technology is reshaping underwriting and is becoming important for sharper customer targeting.
The 152-year-old reinsurer which provides insurance to insurance companies and their products has partnered with Bengaluru-based Kyron Accelerator for the project. The 16-week programme aims to mentor startups at the intersection of technology and insurance. In Europe and the US, SwissRe works with Barclays Rise and the Alchemist Accelerator respectively.
Swiss Re is looking at startups in the areas of internet of things (where devices can communicate to each other), innovative distribution channels and robotic advisors and analytics. The $13 billion firm already has a technology centre in Bengaluru, which is its fifth largest facility globally after those in Zurich, London, New York and Bratislava (capital of Slovakia).
The reinsurance business has been a slow adopter of technology because it’s in undated with complex regulatory frameworks and legacy issues, said Jason Richards, head of property and casualty business management in Swiss Re.
“The business has been around for a long time, you have to deal with legacy. It slows you down. And regulations are often complex for good reason,” said Richards.