MAPFRE’s new commitment to open innovation in insurtech is officially off the ground. On Tuesday 27th November the curtain was lifted on insur_space, a location in Madrid where entrepreneurship, technology and innovation come together to find solutions for the insurance sector with the best start-ups and experts from the company.

MAPFRE aspires to be a world leader in innovation, and for this it allocates 100 million euros a year to developing innovative solutions linked to the insurance sector, which seek to digitally transform the services they offer to customers.

During the day there was a press conference, in which the project was presented to the media, and an inauguration event, in which the management and employees of MAPFRE learned more about the programme and the participating startups.

A collaborative and open project

In the morning the doors of insur_space were opened to the media, who were able to hear at first hand about the aims of this new MAPFRE project. The company president, Antonio Huertas, began by emphasising the need to jump on the bandwagon of innovation: “Times are changing and we have to adapt to new expectations. Although MAPFRE has already been a very innovative company, much like the Spanish insurance sector in general, now we take our leave from the traditional route because it is slow and cannot keep pace with the objectives we have set ourselves”.

Among these objectives, greater efficiency and cost optimisation stand out, as well as improving the service to provide the best possible customer experience. To do this, Huertas points out that “we have to ally ourselves, not only with the big players, but with the nascent and wonderful atmosphere of creation that is the world of insurtech startups”. Within this strategy, “insur_space is a new chapter”.

José Antonio Arias, global innovation director at the company, took over to point out several of the traits that will characterise this platform: “We are going to innovate in an open manner; to respond to changes requested by customers with faster, more immediate and bespoke solutions; and to follow different lines of technological activity and research, such as artificial intelligence, blockchain and machine learning. He also stressed the importance of agreements with universities and business schools to find solutions where they are and connect them with MAPFRE’s strategic objectives.

Thirdly, Josep Celaya, global transformation director of MAPFRE and managing director of insur_space, took the floor to talk about the insurtech phenomenon: “This is a collaborative environment, where most start-ups make proposals to companies like us that operate in this business. insur_space was specifically conceived as a platform to facilitate interaction between those entrepreneurial companies and MAPFRE”.

During the subsequent round of questions, there were questions on the automotive world and health, cybersecurity and the use of data.

Welcome to innovation!

Throughout the day, various media picked up on the inauguration and, in the afternoon, the official ceremony took place. It was attended by the management and employees of the company, participating start-ups and other guests.

Huertas, Arias and Celaya explained the objectives and characteristics of insur_space to attendees, “a vision conceived just over 6 months ago that is already becoming a reality,” stated the global innovation director.

Celaya reminded everyone that this space “comes to light with the objective of being the open door of MAPFRE to what happens in the innovation ecosystem, so that start-ups and teams from within the company can work together.” There are two development programmes to split companies between: acceleration, to help entrepreneurs to get their businesses up and running from the start, and adoption, which is more focused on tutelage and support to promote and consolidate more mature companies.

At the event, some of these startups had four minutes of glory to explain their innovative proposal. After each pitch, Celaya explained how MAPFRE’s collaboration with the startup would work.

The event heard from Jacob Lindeman, CTO of Galaxy AI, where they use artificial intelligence to automate processes after a car accident and who will work with MAPFRE in the United States; Rasmus Meineke, CEO and founder of Comadso, where they use data analytics to compare offers, an idea that MAPFRE Spain is looking into; and Rick Hu, founder and CEO of Vivametrica, which helps to mitigate health risks and to accurately predict mortality rates, and will be of interest to the life insurance department.

They also listened to Helena Kikov, founder and CEO of Flyzen, predictive analytics to make smarter decisions in flight delays and cancellations, and with whom MAPFRE assistance is already working; José Luis López, from Insulclock, who gave a live demonstration of the appliance that they have developed, which helps diabetes patients to improve their treatment, interesting for MAPFRE health; and Sandro Matter, founder of Vlot, where they offer a smarter and more flexible way to purchase and customise insurance.

To bring the event to a close, attendees were able to enjoy Bernardo Hernández’s presentation on digital revolution. Hernández is an entrepreneur, co-founder of idealista and a board member of MAPFRE in the United States. “Absolutely everything, including the insurance industry, is destined to be transformed. MAPFRE has no time to wait and see what happens, because in five years everything will have changed,” explained Hernández.

The expert also detailed with figures how that transformation has already resulted in a completely digital world: “More than 50% of the world’s population is connected to the internet and 20% of trade is done through the net, but only 1% of digital information is used. For this reason, the great challenge facing our organisations is to change decision-making processes and use that 99%”.

As part of this transformation and of MAPFRE’s great commitment to keep up with the digital revolution, the company’s decision to back insurtech is live: insur_space’s long-distance race begins. Welcome to innovation.

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