Innovation and cooperation open up opportunities - this is the mission statement of the initiative Fin.Connect.NRW. Our partner's goal is to seize the opportunities of digital and sustainable transformation and to actively shape the future with new impulses and solutions.

For innovation and transformation, the ecosystem, the bringing together of actors and collaboration are crucial. This common insight makes InsurLab Germany and Fin.Connect.NRW "born partners". In this context, Fin.Connect.NRW spans the arc from science to the financial sector to companies. Startups in particular can create innovative solutions with creative freedom and exploit potential more effectively, also in tandem with established companies.

A strong real economy needs a strong financial center. Networking makes it possible to find solutions for current and future challenges faster and better. In this way, Fin.Connect.NRW offers added value for the participants across all sectors.

Fin.Connect.NRW was founded in 2020. During the Corona crisis, awareness grew that there is more in common than there is to separate. And not only that: By leveraging synergies, the whole becomes greater than the sum of its parts. The visibility of the business location and financial center can also be better achieved together.

Networks are often based, especially in times of limited contacts, on personal esteem that has grown over the years. In a relatively short time, Fin.Connect.NRW has succeeded in establishing a broad base. Cooperation partners today include, for example, the headquarters in NRW of the Deutsche Bundesbank, the banking and savings bank associations of the North Rhine-Westphalian credit industry, the insurance industry and InsurLab Germany, academia, the stock exchange, consultants and, for the real economy, the NRW Chamber of Industry and Commerce. The Ministry of Economics of North Rhine-Westphalia is initially taking the lead in coordinating Fin.Connect.NRW and involving its partners in setting the strategic course.

The effects of the EU taxonomy are currently occupying the players in the financial center intensively. It has already changed the framework conditions for the financial industry. The EU taxonomy is intended to mobilize investments and steer them into environmentally sustainable areas. In addition, the financial sector has to take into account ESG criteria (Environment, Social, Governance) when making investment, credit and insurance decisions.

The digital and climate-neutral transformation of the NRW economy requires investments of up to 70 billion euros p.a. by 2030, equivalent to around 10 % of NRW's gross domestic product. This was quantified in a study on transformation financing by the Institute of the German Economy, which was commissioned by the NRW banking industry and the North Rhine-Westphalia Ministry of Economics. Although replacement investments account for the lion's share, enormous additional financing efforts are needed to be able to handle this magnitude. The war in Ukraine once again shows how important further investment in a resilient energy supply is. The insurance industry is in demand both as an investor and with a view to insuring sustainable business. The recommendations from the study are currently being tested for their feasibility. An awareness campaign has already been launched to inform companies about the future requirements so that they can find the right transformation strategy for themselves together with their financial partners.

An example of successful cooperation: On January 25, 2022, the NRW Chamber of Industry and Commerce, InsurLab Germany and the NRW Ministry of Economics jointly hosted "Opportunity, Risk and Financing of the Digital Transformation" as part of Fin.Connect.NRW. Following the welcoming address by the Minister of Economics, Prof. Dr. Pinkwart, and the scientific impulse by the Institute of the German Economy, speakers from the credit industry, insurance industry and companies discussed their perspectives. Prof. Dr. Oletzky enriched the event with his impulse "Digital Transformation in the Insurance Industry: Mastering Opportunities & Challenges through Collaboration". With more than 100 participants, the response was high and the feedback positive.

Further events are being planned. The InsurLab is involved in conceptual considerations of Fin.Connect.NRW. Articles on the insurance location are visible in the news of the "Arbeitsgemeinschaft Germany Finance" of the German financial centers, in which Fin.Connect.NRW is involved.

The insurance industry is making an important contribution to the transformation. Minister Prof. Dr. Pinkwart and top representatives of the insurance industry presented the study "The insurance industry in North Rhine-Westphalia - key industry and technology driver" in February 2022: 103 companies are based here, 115,000 people are employed in the industry - more than in any other federal state. With gross premiums of 72 billion euros, NRW also occupies a top position in terms of premium income.

InsurLab Germany and Fin.Connect.NRW are united by their common interest in innovatively exploiting future opportunities and cooperatively moving forward.