Northwestern Ontario has hosted its first insurtech hackathon, drawing ideas from some of the most promising minds in the region.
The event, “Hack IT,” was held in Thunder Bay from March 29-30 in Lakehead University’s student business incubator hub, Ingenuity. Hack IT was organized by the Northwestern Ontario Innovation Centre, Lakehead University and local insurance brokerage Jones & Associates Insurance.
Ten teams comprised of both students and alumni from Lakehead University and Confederation College participated in the hackathon. Teams had 24 hours to propose and develop solutions to insurance-related issues.
Themes explored during the event include changing demographics, severe weather events, the sharing/gig economy and trends such as the mounting costs of insurance fraud and cybersecurity.
Industry partners were present at the event to provide guidance and insight to participants. Partners included Gore Mutual Insurance, Policy Works, BoBTrak, BrokerLift and ClientDesk
At the end of the 24-hour period, the teams presented their ideas to a panel of judges; three winners were awarded cash prizes. A release said that the winning team came up with a solution that addressed fraudulent claims reporting using AI. The runner-up proposed a mobile app to reward improved driving performance and tackle retention rates. The bonus prize was awarded to a team that pitched a method to deal with commercial fleet risk profiles via telematics.
“It’s important for us to support events like this because harnessing technology to provide better insurance products and outcomes helps the communities we service,” said Jones & Associates Insurance president Jeff Jones in a statement.
Gore Mutual director of digital Sachin Rustagi added that the company is committed to helping drive innovation culture in the insurance industry. Rustagi also said that Gore Mutual is pleased that its broker and technology partners participated in the event.
“We hope to see some of the hackathon teams transition their ideas forward to a pilot phase to help further innovation in our industry,” the director remarked.