Insurtech Accelerator Program – Q+A With Head of Insurance and Pensions, Simon Pickering

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In the first of our series of blogs going behind the scenes on Insurtech Isle of Man’s new Insurtech Accelerator Program, we hear from Simon Pickering, Head of Insurance and Pensions at Finance Isle of Man. With 37 years of experience in the Isle of Man’s financial services industry, Simon is a leading voice in developing a thriving Insurtech ecosystem on the Island.  

Q1 - What is the Insurtech Accelerator Program and why have you launched it?

The Insurtech Acceleration Program builds on the Isle of Man’s experience as a well-established hub of insurance expertise and is strengthening the Island’s leadership and reach in Insurtech and innovation internationally, supporting promising startups looking to collaborate with established insurance players in the region.

The program has support partners that act as mentors throughout the 12-week program, and includes: Zurich, Utmost, RI360, Momentum International, Boal and Co, EIP and Hansard. These mentors offer insurance industry expertise and assist the startups in defining their proposition to suit the Isle of Man market needs.

We launched the Isle of Man’s first Insurtech Accelerator Program in partnership with F10 Global earlier this year to deliver Insurtech solutions to our life insurance industry on the island. We received seventy applications from around the world and the teams at Insurtech Isle of Man and F10 Incubator & Accelerator in Switzerland had the task of whittling them down to the final cohort of seven.

For the Isle of Man to continue to be at the forefront of the life sector internationally, it needs to keep evolving, and we know that companies in the sector all struggle with similar  issues to which there are already technological solutions out there, whether that’s to help with  KYC (know your customer), customer onboarding, policy management and legacy systems. The idea of the Program was to bring ready-made solutions to the life sector to ensure they stay as a globally recognized leader in this space.

Q2 – What does the Program mean for the future of the life industry sector on the Island?

For the life industry we are very confident that a number of these Insurtechs will be in a position to be working on proof of concepts and developing their services further throughout the Program, which have the potential to further enhance the delivery and services the life companies can provide to brokers all over the world. This will enable them to provide an even better service going forward, helping to sustain and grow the sector, which currently makes up the largest proportion of our GDP at 19%. Improving the customer experience is something we work very hard on, but it's clear these solutions are not just for the life sector, and we have aspirations to expand into pensions, the funds and wealth sector, the banking sector and even e-gaming.

Q3 – What does it mean to the Isle of Man to be leading in this space?

The Isle of Man aims to foster innovation and is a supportive place to start a business. With such an established financial services sector, it is important for us to continue to disrupt from within and explore new technologies and support smaller businesses.

We are building important connections and relationships with innovative start-ups, scale-ups and entrepreneurs. Many of the cohort members I’ve spoken to said the Isle of Man was not even on their radar before applying to the Program and hearing more about what we can offer, and the businesses we’re working with are often acting as ambassadors for us when they go back to their various countries, generating further interest around what the Isle of Man can offer Insurtechs.

Q4 – What’s still to come in the Program after these first few weeks?

After the first week on the Island and the second week in Edinburgh, the program continues remotely until the cohort is welcomed back to the Island in the New Year. The Insurtech Program will culminate with a final demonstrative event on the Island on January 26th 2023, which we anticipate will be very well attended.

Beyond that we will continue to build out the Insurtech ecosystem on the Island. We already have many businesses not on the Program considering setting up offices here and we will continue to collaborate with other Insurtech ecosystems such as Fintech Scotland, who we have recently signed an MOU with, Insurtech UK, Insurtech Israel, and Insurtech Ireland. Collaboration is the key to success in these types of ecosystems and we always look for partners to grow with and learn from. Building these relationships allows us to support each other in developing our Insurtech sectors.


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