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10. July 2019

Exploring the Israeli Startup ecosystem with InsurLab Germany

From 7 to 9 July 2018 we travelled to Tel Aviv together with some InsurLab Germany members to get to know the Israeli startup ecosystem and to discuss the development of the industry with our partners SOSA & FinTLV. Dr. Christopher Lohmann, CEO of Gothaer Allgemeine AG, reports today on his experiences.

For the second time, an InsurLab Germany delegation made its way to Tel Aviv to immerse itself in Israel's startup scene, follow technological trends and learn about exciting new business approaches. Five companies were part of the delegation, insurers as well as service providers - from software architects and innovation managers to managing directors.

What awaited us after a long journey – apart from the hot and humid temperatures of Tel Aviv in July – were 15 first-class presentations from Israel, some of them still young, some of them already developed. As in 2018, the location of the event was the SOSA & FinTLV offices. Among other things, they offer a coworking & scouting space in which established and young companies come together with the aim of promoting cooperation as well as financing and developing new business ideas. MunichRe (among others) is always there. We as Gothaer come once a year.

SOSA & FinTLV are an integral part of the digital ecosystem in Israel; the visible success of the approach recently led SOSA to set up a largely analogous concept in Big Apple on behalf of the city of New York. As one hears, the step to Germany is also imminent. Sebastian Pitzler & Co have clearly had a good nose for the choice of these partners in Tel Aviv, bringing Israel's innovative strength and speed to the Rhine. A real plus of InsurLab Germany. We are curious to see how this will develop further.

Here in the blog there is not enough space to present all 15 startups we have experienced. And to be honest: everyone should develop their own curiosity, open up, experience the spirit of optimism and be amazed. Nevertheless, perhaps as an appetizer: What could be discovered on this Innovation Journey to Israel?

1. new business ideas from startups who are looking for suitable partners on the insurers' side for their entry into Germany.
We found Voom particularly exciting - the on demand, telematics based insurance of (among others) e-scooters. A good idea and great technology for vehicles that are (finally!) also registered in Germany. A convincing answer to the megatrend "Micro-Mobility", which is already much more present in Israel than in Germany. Because the cityscape of Tel Aviv is no longer imaginable without electric scooters.

2. exciting and very tangible approaches,...

  • make existing products more attractive
  • supplement classic risk transfer with appropriate services
  • take concrete steps on the road from payer to partner.
  • work on the first real ecosystems.

Not surprisingly: due to the security situation that is noticeable for every traveller to Israel, Cyber Security took and takes a particularly large part in this. A lot of added value for the security of our IT as well as for the further development of cyber products.

3. and especially important: a multitude of sophisticated IT tools to improve the delivery and operating model of insurers.
This is about more convenience at the interface to the customer. The aim is to use data-driven approaches to further develop marketing, the web presence or even entire customer journeys in such a way that they are comparable to the customer experience at x Tech companies. It is also about approaches that help insurers to cope with the legacy of their legacy systems. The focus is also on the intelligent linking of systems and data transfer as well as state-of-the-art automation tools for powerful and custom-fit software robots. The start-ups were particularly well received.

I found the mix of startups and presentations very appealing. It was a good width with a good hand in selecting the pitches. The chosen format - round table, 45 to 60 minutes of presentation and discussion - offered a good framework for contributions and exchange with real depth. One plus: the startups presented were very professional and well developed. The presenters were able to present their case very well and defend it in discussions. (I have already experienced this quite differently.)

In addition to the inspiring and professional atmosphere, it was also a personally enjoyable journey, despite the considerable strain with a long flight, extensive entry and tropical temperatures. Israel in July is not a good idea. This was more than made up for by the great support from the InsurLab Germany team (Sebastian Pitzler, Herbert Jansky and Nia Escobar) and the cooperation partners from SOSA (Sabrina Kestenbaum) and FinTLV (Gil Arazi). Over the past few years, a solid basis for a trusting cooperation has been established here, which is lived and breathed.

A personal insight at the end: In his introductory lecture, Gil put the development of the Israeli ecosystem in the context of the strategic location and development of the country. Israel has no natural resources. Tel Aviv was built in 1909 in the desert, literally on sand. The art of skill is often wool. Israel has set out, developed and exported innovative ideas. 8,300 start-ups, strongly interlinked internationally, 4.5 percent of the domestic product in research & development. Facts and a clear language for: Technology was & technology is the answer. For Israel then as now. And also for us.


Dr. Christopher Lohmann
CEO of Gothaer Allgemeine AG

Dr. Christopher Lohmann, born 1968 in Limburg an der Lahn, is Chairman of the Executive Board of Gothaer Allgemeine Versicherung AG, the composite insurer in the Gothaer Group. He entered the insurance industry as an assistant to the Board of Management of Allianz AG. Lohmann joined the Gothaer Group in April 2017. As Chairman of the Executive Board of Gothaer Allgemeine AG, he is responsible for the Group's entire property and casualty insurance business in Germany and abroad, as well as for claims. He is also a member of the Executive Boards of Gothaer Versicherungsbank VVaG and Gothaer Finanzholding AG.

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