Insurance meets Hackathon

Last November the Zurich Insurance Group hosted the first Insurance Hackathon in the DACH region (Germany, Austria, and Switzerland). It took place in the RheinEnergy Stadion, the home of the local football team, in the heart of the German insurance sector - Cologne. Over a three-day period various teams consisting of developers, designers, and inventors competed against each other to win €50,000.

The goal of this competition was to produce new software and business ideas, different from common insurance processes. No real data was used and all account, policy, and claims information was simulated.

Insurance Meets Hackathon - Image

About 30 teams and roughly 120 participants put the interface to the test, with projects such as:

  • First Notice of Loss (FNOL) management;
  • Voice-controlled assistants;
  • Short-term on-demand policies for mountain bike trips;
  • Crowdsourcing;
  • Gamification of premium payments that motivates a customer to invite friends to join their insurer and rewards you for paying your premium on time; and
  • Automatic picture-recognition systems that add items you photograph to your home content policy.

There was also a clear focus on improving FNOL and submission processes through interactive, sometimes voice- or chat-based assistants; this seems to still be one of the main challenges for people in Germany, and comprised roughly 50% of all pitched projects.

Unfortunately, there could only be one winner and, after forty-eight hours of little sleep, a lot of coffee and even more code, team Hackermates was selected by a jury consisting of three Zurich board members and two external experts to receive the €50,000 grand prize. They developed a solution to provide the right insurance coverage at the right time, by applying a machine-learning algorithm that analyzes customer emails and decides whether a flight reservation email should trigger a recommendation for travel insurance or a new work contract, leading to a disability insurance proposal.

In addition to the participants inventing, hacking, designing, and coding, the sponsors of the InsurHack had a chance to present their software, including Guidewire!