InsurLab Germany, a digital hub for the insurance and reinsurance industry, has been launched in Cologne to promote digital innovation in the industry.

There are eight founding insurance companies: AXA, Barmenia, Debeka, Gen Re, Gothaer, LVM, Provinzial Rheinland and R+V.

Other founding members are Virado, a Cologne startup; Cologne University; the TH Köln/University of Cologne; the Cologne Chamber of Commerce and Industry, and the City of Cologne.

InsurLab Germany is open to other insurers and reinsurers as well as start-ups and related service providers, said InsurLab on its website.

Ulrich Pasdika, Gen Re’s head of Life & Health, Germany, and head of Life & Health Research & Development, was elected to the association’s board. Other InsurLAB board members are Dr. Bühring-Uhle, member of the board at Gothaer, and Dr. Alexander Vollert, CEO of AXA Germany.

“We firmly believe that cooperation between insurers and reinsurers on the one hand and a wide range of insurtechs on the other, offers huge potential for innovative approaches,” said Ulrich Pasdika at Gen Re, in a statement released by the company.

“Provided the industry maintains this collaboration in a smart, consistent way, digitalization represents a massive opportunity for it,” he said.

This initiative strengthens Cologne as an insurance hub, said Dr. Winfried Heinen, chairman of the board of executive directors at General Reinsurance AG. “As a top ten reinsurer with a global network, we have a strong interest in promoting collaboration between start-ups and the insurance industry – to the benefit of both sides.”

InsurLAB Germany said it aims to promote regional, national and international tech startups in areas such as business intelligence, artificial intelligence, sensor technology, e-payment or eHealth.

“Pitch-days with promising start-ups and hackathons will be given on topics relevant to the sector,” InsurLAB said.

“New start-ups are to be promoted through the provision of experimental areas (incubator program) as well as through intensive coaching over an extended period (accelerator program),” it continued.

In the second half of 2017, InsurLAB Germany is seeking to acquire premises in a central location in Cologne, hire employees and plan its initial activities.

Source: Gen Re and InsurLAB