On March 10, 2022, the UK Government announced a formal agreement with Connecticut Insurance & Financial Services (CT IFS), the MetroHartford Alliance (MHA), the Connecticut Insurance Department, and Insurtech UK to launch a new InsurTech Corridor. The signing took place at Nassau Financial Group in downtown Hartford.
Strengthening the Insurance Industry in Connecticut and the UK
The region’s space, place, and reputation were duly noted, enhanced by opening comments from event host MHA Vice President and CT IFS Executive Director Susan Winkler, who emphasized that Hartford is not only “The Insurance Capital of the World,” but also “The Insurance Capital of the Universe.”
She noted the magnitude of building a stronger insurance industry in two global metros: Hartford and London and recognized UK DIT Trade & Investment Officer Joy Kinnear and Barbara Fernandez for their hard work, perseverance, and vision for the partnership.
Nassau Financial Group Chief Marketing Officer Paul Tyler underscored the importance of innovation and said the company is “thrilled to be a part of the effort.”
Leveraging Connecticut’s Insurance Ecosystem
Her Majesty’s Trade Commissioner to North America Emma Wade-Smith called the event “a historic moment” building on a longstanding relationship and collaboration. She added that the IFS industry boost is “exactly what we achieved today” by harnessing the skills and talents of everyone involved and recognized all organizations involved.
The UK can now leverage Connecticut’s local insurance ecosystem and Connecticut now has more exposure to the UK insurance market, creating “a fast track for those seeking to internationalize,” HMTC said. She also emphasized how it was natural to pursue a partnership to revolutionize, rhetorically asking, “What’s not to love about that?”
Accelerating Innovation and InsurTech
Connecticut Insurance Commissioner Andrew N. Mais reiterated that the day marked a significant milestone, accelerating innovation and InsurTech—and benefitting consumers. “We want to make sure this industry prospers and consumers have easy and affordable access to the products they need,” he said.
“There’s a reason we’re known as the Insurance Capital of the World,” the CT Commisioner added, referencing Connecticut’s talent and skillset. “Connecticut’s government and organizations are committed to job growth, innovation, and furthering the industry.”
“The partnership is an example of how Connecticut continues to innovate,” said Connecticut Department of Economic and Community Development Commissioner David Lehman. “Connecticut’s economy provides a framework of collaboration, innovation, and encouragement,” he added.
Collaborating and Creating Opportunities
Insurtech UK Council member and Chair of the Government & External Affairs Working Group John Warburton agreed, noting that “InsurTech is all about collaboration.” In terms of choosing to partner with the United States, he spoke of members’ desire to locate here, saying Connecticut is “an attractive international destination” that has a cluster effect with the density of our insurance industry.
Hartford Mayor Luke Bronin recognized the amount of work involved and graciously thanked all the organizations, local and abroad, for their partnership.
“We’re proud of our tradition as the Insurance Capital of the World. Our new goal is to become the InsurTech Capital of the World,” he asserted, pointing out that what distinguishes Hartford is the level of access to decision makers and innovators, which enables opportunities to interact and partner.
MHA President and CEO David Griggs acknowledged that all the reasons why Hartford is the best had already been discussed by other panelists. He signified the importance of the event by quoting a line from Mancunian poet Tony Walsh, “Some were born here, others drawn here, but we all call it home.”
During the Q&A, a question was posed about barriers to overcome. Insurtech UK Council member and Chair of the Government & External Affairs Working Group John Warburton addressed the question from a startup perspective, explaining that UK-based InsurTech startups want to explore the United States but may experience barriers to determining market access, regulations, and known counterparts. This partnership addresses those barriers by providing access to talent and decision makers, and “unlocking relationships that lead to serendipity.”
Mayor Bronin added that the partnership alleviates barriers on two levels: by providing access to government and access to the market via a “warm handshake.”
The InsurTech corridor is now officially open and set up to support companies in the UK and Connecticut. In the coming weeks, the Corridor will be announcing agreements and upcoming participation.