Together with members of InsurLab Germany we traveled to New York from 18.09. to 20.09. for the Innovation Journey. Dr. Stefan Ziegler, Managing Director of the Ecclesia  Versicherungsdienst GmbH, gives us a personal insight into the eventful days and thus offers us a small insight into the various meet-ups and get-togethers that took place during this trip.
September 18, 2019:
On the day of arrival, I took the opportunity to already participate in the "optional" program, which included a tour of the "Amazon Go Stores" on Park Avenue in New York. I had until then only a rudimentary idea of a "Go Store".
A Go Store is a rather small retail store located in New York diagonally across from the Waldorf-Astoria Hotel. There are about 30 of these stores in the United States. At the moment, these stores are still a major field trial, but if successful, they will be rolled out nationwide (initially in the United States).
At present, only groceries can be purchased in the stores. Shopping is controlled via an app. The stores are equipped with numerous cameras and motion sensors, so that by entering and logging in, a "glass" shopping experience takes place. All products taken from the shelves are immediately assigned to one personally. If products are put back, they are canceled at the same moment. When leaving the store, the shopping cart is summarily debited at the same time and a digital receipt is generated via the app. There is no need for a cash register statement at all. During the visit, not only a movement profile in the store is created, but also a consumption profile. Theft is no longer possible due to the "all-round monitoring".
Afterwards, we have a tour organized by the German American Chamber of Commerce , at SAP NextGen,   hosted Pitch Night attended. Here, seven German start-ups presented their solutions to a jury of investors to generate potential interest. This was followed by feedback from the jury for the participants. At the end, networking opportunities were offered over appetizers and drinks.
September 19, 2019:
The second day took place all day at AWS  (= Amazon Web Services) took place in the so-called Executive Briefing Center. The event had a strong marketing character, as AWS sells its own cloud services.
After a round of questions about our expectations regarding the cloud, we were presented in detail with all the available services by AWS employees.
In addition to customer examples, the entire morning was devoted to topics such as like Big Data, voice-controlled systems and Analytics capabilities of cloud-based platforms. The topics of security and compliance are also discussed in detail, and one gets the impression that the American colleagues have a fundamental understanding of (German) data protection and regulation. It is exciting that the AWS system offers openness with regard to importing and exporting data, i.e. you are no longer tied to a provider, but can also withdraw your data at any time.
Overall, the conclusion of the morning is that a paradigm shift has taken place in terms of cloud use. Particularly with regard to the insurance industry, it was stated that insurance experts and IT managers must always work and communicate at eye level if business success is to be achieved later on. It is evident that Amazon always thinks in customer-oriented terms when it comes to its solutions.
Start-up pitches were again held in the afternoon: The presentations focused on the insurance industry and practical cases.
Claim Genius  has developed an app for motor vehicle claims, which is operated by artificial intelligence. At the moment, this app is only made available to private providers.
Unqork  on the other hand, sees itself as a cloud-based provider for the development of customer applications in the areas of insurance, financial services and the real estate industry. The special feature here is that these applications can be developed without any programming knowledge. In the USA, its renowned customers include Liberty Mutual and Marsh.
Montoux, a start-up specializing in pricing strategies from an actuarial perspective for the life and health insurance sectors.
Leadcloud focuses on data exchange between insurance partners, "Data Integration Platform". A specially developed portal is intended to make data transfer faster and more efficient.
In the evening we were invited to the event of Boston Consulting Group (BCG) on the opportunities and risks of digital transformation. After a half-hour online strategy game on the topic of IT investments, a round table discussion with American experts talked about disruption and digital transformation of business models in the insurance sector
September 20, 2019:
On the last day we were in the SOSA Cyber Center, the site of the Israeli company SOSAwhich - together with the Venture Capital Fund JVP (Jerusalem Venture Partners) - was asked by the Society for Economic Development of New York to help transform New York City into the global leader in cybersecurity and innovation. New York is now home to 9,000 startups, more than 200 private and public universities, 326,000 tech jobs, 400 venture capital funds and 47 Fortune 500 companies. According to the speakers, New York is currently the world's leading financial center and number two in global digital "ecosystems." After a panel discussion on FinTech and InsurTech innovations is followed by the presentation of three other start-ups:
LeO uses artificial intelligence to build an interactive communication platform that can perform customer service and sales tasks as a white-label ChatBot for the insurance industry. However, only ChatBot functionalities are currently available.
Cytegic offers a cyber risk management application that can calculate the impact of cyber risks on a company's ROI. The first potential customer in Germany is Hannover Re.
Envelop Risk is a global cyber risk company that combines insurance expertise with artificial intelligence to develop cyber risk models consisting of insurance products, pricing and distribution approaches. Among others, MS Amlin is involved in this start-up.
Afterwards we visited the company Slice at the WeWork office space in Union Square. This start-up generates cloud-based digital insurance solutions in the area of, among other things Real estate sharing, cyber and car sharing. Among other things, Slice stands for the idea of offering insurance coverage only on a temporary basis. In cooperation with insurers, Slice primarily offers the opportunity to develop ideas for digital insurance solutions and to make them marketable quickly and efficiently using the Slice solutions ("prototyping"). In this way, the costly integration into existing systems can be postponed to a point in time when market success is proven - otherwise the product is simply discontinued again ("fail fast").
A successful intellectual change of sides with many impulses, which once again made clear that digital innovation is one of THE topics for our industry and that disruption can also result from the topic of package solutions (e.g. in the automotive sector).