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DSM USA is One of the World's Leading Insurtech Hubs

November 8, 2018


Insurtech is the hottest buzzword in the insurance industry today. One simply cannot ignore it. Today’s consumers are pushing every company they do business with to be more digital and mobile friendly, and the 250-year-old insurance industry is no exception.

To keep our edge as an insurance hub, Greater Des Moines (DSM) must continue incubating a culture of innovation among both insurance carriers and the entrepreneurs who bring their bright ideas to us through the Global Insurance Accelerator (GIA).

Inspiring Entrepreneurs

Farm Bureau Financial Services was an early investor in the GIA, a mentor-driven business accelerator designed to foster innovation in the insurance industry by supporting startups targeting the global insurance industry. Each year, the GIA selects a cohort of startup companies to provide with seed money and mentorship through a 100 day program. In return, the investing companies receive a small ownership in each of these startup companies.

Having just wrapped up its fourth cohort, the GIA has provided our companies with direct access to some of the most creative, inspiring insurtech ideas in the industry today. We’ve enjoyed welcoming these entrepreneurs to the state and helping them connect with mentors and advocates who can help them change the face of the insurance industry.

Dedicating Resources

This year, we’ve enhanced our support of insurance technology and innovation by hiring an innovation manager and dedicating staff resources. We’ve also added funding to enable this team to test ideas — often with members of the GIA cohort — that can help move us forward. We believe that technology alone is not a strategy for building a culture of innovation, but when technology is combined with collaboration, true innovation happens.

Listening to Consumer Preference

Even in a blog about advancements in insurtech, I’d be remiss not to note the importance of the human element in everything we do. While consumers are certainly demanding greater access and control in their interactions with us, they continue to find a great deal of value in working with a local agent. Our companies were founded on the idea of doing business with a handshake and even the most advanced artificial intelligence (AI) can’t replace what our agents do. What it can do, however, is enhance it — we’re listening closely to the preferences of our consumers to ensure we’re delivering technology where they demand it, and the human touch when it matters most.

Big Data, Big Responsibility

There has been a lot of talk recently about access to and use of consumer data. Data can be a powerful transformation tool for any business simply because of the immediate impact it can offer. But without good governance and analytics, it’s really not useful at all. As it relates to data, we’ve explored several solutions and tools that integrate data into workflow processes — underwriting, claims, marketing — and have found those that help us engage better with our customers and keep the risk to them at a minimum are the only ones worth pursuing. Data will continue to be a hot topic for consumers and one our industry will be monitoring closely.

In closing, insurtech is raising the stakes by leveraging technology to incubate new, innovative products that are meeting consumers’ demands and expectations. The resulting pace of change is creating more urgency for companies like ours to innovate both within and outside our current processes. It’s an exciting time to be in the insurance industry and as DSM continues to embrace innovation we’re well positioned to maintain our place as an insurance hub.

Discover more about The Partnership’s tools to help Greater Des Moines (DSM) entrepreneurs and startups develop and grow their ventures on The Partnership’s Startups & Entrepreneurs page.