VentureClash provides early-stage companies worldwide with an opportunity to grow their business in Connecticut. The goal is to help speed Digital Health, FinTech, InsurTech and Internet of Things (IoT) innovations to market by awarding capital to promising early-stage companies.
At the $5 million pitch competition, early-stage companies are joined by experts, investors, entrepreneurs, customers, and educators where finalists will pitch to a panel of judges. With the recognition that it takes more than money to succeed, competitors also receive access to a critical network of customers, investors, mentors, and talent.
Jeroen Morrenhof, CEO of FRISS, told Innovation Destination Hartford about why Connecticut is a good fit for his InsurTech company and shared some plans for future goals.
INNOVATION DESTINATION HARTFORD: Tell us about your company/when and why did it launch?
JEROEN MORRENHOF: Insurance fraud is a big problem. From our figures, we know that at least one out of 10 claims are fraudulent or dishonest. Our question to insurer companies is: Why should sincere customers bear the risk brought in by others?
In 2006, we founded FRISS based on the strong belief that sincere people should not be paying for dishonest people’s behavior. At that time, fraud was not on the agenda of the boards of insurance companies.
From day one, we have been on a quest for honest insurance. This means we help insurers to detect fraudulent behavior and to make better decisions with underwriting and claim processes while helping them to stay compliant with ever-changing rules and regulations. Our mission is to strive for a trustworthy insurance industry, healthy insurance portfolios, and fair insurance premiums.
IDH: What makes your services innovative?
JM: FRISS is 100% focused and dedicated to fraud detection and risk mitigation for non-life insurance companies worldwide. Our real-time business solutions for underwriting, claims, investigations, and compliance are ready-to-use. The solutions deliver the FRISS Score, a reliable risk indication, to more than 120 insurers worldwide. The FRISS Score enables companies to make reliable and objective decisions about quotations, policies, and claims across all private and commercial lines.
IDH: Why do you feel it is important for your company to have a U.S. presence?
JM: Non-life (or P&C) insurance is a vast global market. At the moment, FRISS is European market leader. Together with the United States, these territories count for 70% of the total market, where the United States alone has a 41% share. There is ample opportunity for further usage of fraud analytics solutions. It’s fueled by market digitalization, straight-through-processing, and the need for predictive modeling.
Gartner recently published the Hype Cycle for P&C Insurers, in which it states that only between 5% and 20% of P&C insurers adopted a solution for fraud analytics. Looking at our mission, we strongly believe the United States is definitely a territory where we can make a difference in making insurance more honest.
IDH: What challenges do international businesses face when trying to establish a presence in the United States?
JM: Doing business in the United States is like doing business in Europe. You cannot look at the continent as being one region. From state to state there are huge differences; the same goes for the various countries in Europe. If you are successful in Greece, it does not mean the same exact model will work in Sweden. Apart from that, we face cultural differences as Europeans are typical more modest than necessary.
We have years of insurance experience from customer implementations as well as from our employees, who often have backgrounds in insurance. That stallgeruch, as we like to call it, benefits every prospect and customer.
Therefore, we put a lot of effort into analyzing and understanding where opportunities for FRISS are most worthwhile. We did so with the different countries in Europe. We did the same when looking at the U.S.
How/why is Connecticut a good fit?
JM: We evaluated states in the United States based on a great number of criteria. Our conclusion was that when looking at the size of the non-life insurance market, the amount of skilled people and resources available, and the cultural fit and ease of doing business, Connecticut scored high on all these qualifications.
IDH: How did you become involved with VentureClash?
JM: We had our first encounter with VentureClash at the Digital Insurance Agenda (DIA) event in Amsterdam, where we won the DIAmond award for our pitch. Our encounter coincided perfectly with our plans to seek an investor and conquer the U.S. market.
IDH: What do you hope to gain from the experience of participating in VentureClash?
JM: Aside from our goal to win the competition, we wanted to get as much feedback as we can about our branding, positioning, presentation, and opportunities. From the interactions leading to the finals we already had many valuable introductions that will help us land in the United States.
IDH: Where do you hope to see the company in one year’s time?
JM: Our vision is to become the global standard for honest insurance by 2025. We work hard to reach that goal. In the niche market we serve, we managed to achieve this in only 10 years’ time in The Netherlands, in Europe and are now on our way to the Americas.
One year from now, I hope to see that our mission landed at U.S. insurers and we have inspired the boards of various U.S. insurers to work with us on a trustworthy insurance industry. And, on a personal level, I hope my family and I have settled in Connecticut and are ready for more adventures to come.
Learn more about FRISS at www.friss.com.
Managed by Connecticut Innovations, VentureClash is Connecticut’s global venture challenge focused on early-stage companies. The challenge, launched in 2016, identifies high-potential companies in digital health, IoT, InsureTech and FinTech that will compete for investments from a $5 million award pool. Visit www.ventureclash.com to learn about qualifications, requirements, guidelines, and how to apply.
About Connecticut Innovations
Connecticut Innovations provides venture capital and strategic support for innovative, early-stage technology companies; financial support for innovation and collaboration; and connections to its well-established network of partners and professionals. For more information, visit www.ctinnovations.com or read our interview with Connecticut Innovations CEO Matt McCooe.