The Menorah Mivtachim Holdings Ltd. (TASE: MORA) insurance group is seeking a foothold in the insurtech market - fintech for the insurance sector - and is combining with IBM's Alpha Zone accelerator for the purpose. Sources inform “Globes” that Menora Mivtachim, controlled by Eran Griffel, will become a partner in the IBM accelerator, for which the two companies will jointly select advanced-stage Israeli insurtech startups. The selected companies will received insurance consultation and access to big data from Menora Mivtachim and technological and business assistance from IBM, as well as access to cloud-based artificial intelligence (AI) services. “This is worth hundreds of thousands of dollars a year,” said an informed source.”
The two companies are inviting Israeli startups that have already raised initial capital to compete for entry to the program, starting with Alpha Zone's next group of startups. In the 20-week program, the selected startups will be hosted during the entire training period in IBM's headquarters in Kiryat Arie. They will receive personalized technological and business assistance in submitting plans to the Israel Innovation Authority, plus professional insurance consultation services from personnel at Menora Mivtachim, one of Israel's largest insurance and pension companies, and access to the company's big data for the purpose of developing their products. The startups in the accelerator will receive these services free of charge and without granting any shares or partnership rights in the companies.
Menora Mivtachim vice-CEO and information division manager Moshe Morgenstern is in charge of his company's part in the accelerator program, and IBM Israel head of startup and developer ecosystem Gil May-Tal is in charge of IBM's part. The accelerator has other partners, such as Elron, the technological investment arm of IDB Development; the Ernst & Young accounting firm; and Bank Hapoalim through Poalim Hi-Tech. The Innovation Authority is also a partner in the accelerator, and provides help for its activity, IBM Alpha Zone, IBM's global accelerator, will soon open its seventh class.
Menora Mivtachim's step is part of the growing awareness in this highly conventional industry of the increasing importance of digitalization and the use of technology to improve pricing and management. The Israeli capital market and Capital Markets, Insurance, and Savings Commissioner Dorit Salinger have marked technology as an important goal for the local insurance sector.
Menora Mivtachim is not the first insurance player to emphasize insurtech. In the second half of 2017, AIG Israel and its parent company, which is one of the world's largest international insurance groups, have publicly cited Israeli insurtech as an investment target, and AIG executives have met with a series of startups. Another leading international insurance firm previously showed special interest in Israeli insurtech - AXA of the UK, which last year considered Israeli startups in the field in cooperation with Jerusalem Venture Partners (JVP).
Published by Globes [online], Israel business news - www.globes-online.com - on April 10, 2018
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