Irish insurtech hub brings feast in southeast
Institute of Technology Carlow has launched its insurtech centre to fire up the southeast as an engine of Ireland’s insurance sector.
The plan is to improve “Ireland’s attractiveness” for foreign direct investment in the insurance space, resulting in 50 new businesses and supporting the creation of 300 jobs by 2022.
The Insurtech Networking Centre (INC) is a new development in collaboration with Enterprise Ireland (EI) under the Regional Enterprise Development Fund 2017-2020 and in partnership with Wexford County Council and Carlow County Council.
INC is supported by international and domestic insurance companies UNUM, Wrightway, VHI and Zurich Insurance, all of which have existing operations employing more than 1,000 people in the region.
Dr. Patricia Mulcahy, president, Institute of Technology Carlow, says: “The insurance sector faces enormous challenges both globally and locally. Insurtech start-ups have disrupted the traditional insurance market, new technologies have enabled innovation across the value chain, while millennials seek out more frequent and meaningful interactions with Insurers.”
She adds: “This ultra-competitive environment requires fresh thinking from incumbents who must embrace innovation in order to gain and maintain a sustainable competitive advantage.”
Darren Smith, INC’s business development manager, adds that start-ups will get access (via EI support) to academics and researchers engaged in various fields. The latter includes analytics, internet of things (IoT), and blockchain.
Starting in September 2019, start-ups will get help through an insurtech accelerator programme. INC explains that it will not seek any equity stake in the firms.
INC is headquartered at a €1-million purpose-built facility at Institute of Technology Carlow’s main campus, which is due for completion by mid-2020.
According to the investment promotion agency IDA Ireland, there are over 230 insurance businesses operating in Ireland, employing a total of more than 28,000 people, directly and indirectly.
The Irish insurance industry holds €303 billion in assets in Ireland and generates €32 billion premium income from domestic and international customers.