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A Postcard from Frankfurt: The Global InsurTech Roadshow


Article by: Kai Dwyer, Chief Executive Officer, Vallum Insure

Goethe Business School in Frankfurt, Germany, held a two-day Global InsurTech Roadshow on March 13-14, combining pitch-sessions and discussion rounds with international early-stage InsurTechs, where innovative start-ups compete for the Goethe InsurTech Award.

Kai Dwyer, CEO of Vallum, was invited as a guest speaker; he shares his event highlights below:

I presented at the Global Insurtech Roadshow event in Frankfurt, Germany last month, by invitation of the organisers.

Held at the Goethe Business School, the event had a distinctive ‘back to school’ feel which ensured a familial and casual atmosphere which fostered a collaborative ‘share and learn’ approach.
The first day of the roadshow, 24 companies passionately pitched for the inaugural Goethe InsurTech Award. The field included a mix of local German start-ups and international contenders from the USA, UK, Russia, Estonia, Denmark, Belgium, Switzerland. Vallum and InsuredHQ proudly represented the New Zealand InsurTech industry.

The second day consisted of various panel discussions; with practical sessions dealing with topics such as regulation, FinTech investment, Blockchain, cyber risk and innovation trends. An important and often overlooked topic, the application of InsurTech industrial insurance, was also covered.

Unfortunately, neither Vallum, nor InsuredHQ, were successful in bringing home the prestigious Goethe InsurTech Award. In their commentary, the judging panel seemed to show a distinct preference for enabling technologies over business platforms. This reflects the maturity of InsurTech in Europe, where the market is much more evolved than New Zealand.

A further observation was that the regulatory environment within Germany and the EU is clearly much trickier to navigate than in New Zealand. In particular, the implementation of General Data Protection Regulation (GDPR) is a hot topic. GDPR, which dictates very onerous penalties for a breach, dictates privacy standards for all companies who have any customers with interests in the EU, which means that many New Zealand companies will also fall within its reach.

At Vallum we believe that these standards represent the new global benchmark, and we’re already incorporating into our model compliance with these privacy and security standards for customer data. We urge others in the InsurTech space to consider doing the same.

Despite the empty trophy cabinet, the event was an unqualified success – supported by many leading international and domestic sponsors and investors. Any new InsurTech venture should look for ways to see beyond the immediate horizon of their domestic market place, so Vallum benefited greatly from this experience.

We are thankful for the excellent organisation under the leadership of leading InsurTech influencer Dr. Moritz Finkelnburg, Academic Director of the Goethe Business School. Similarly, we must acknowledge that our involvement couldn’t happen without the support of InsurTechNZ and its association with InsurTech Asia and the Global InsurTech Alliance (GITA).

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