What do telephony and cooking have in common?  Refining the robo-call to near-human conversation and alerting the forgetful cook that the burner is still on are among the needs whose technology solutions garnered finalist status for their developers in the first-ever 2015 ACORD Insurance Innovation Challenge.

It is good to see international insurance-standards organization ACORD providing this forum that encourages and recognizes innovative and disruptive technology products for the insurance industry.   More than 100 startup and established companies entered The Challenge this spring, and the list was first whittled down to 48 semifinalists and then to the 12 finalists. When the big winner is selected at the organization’s November convention, the prize will be modest. The exposure from simply being a finalist, however, could be worth far more when these companies seek additional capital and start marketing their innovations.

During the finalist-selection process, the judges divided the companies into “ACORD Innovators” – companies that employed ACORD standards or reference architecture in innovative and useful ways – and “Insurance Disruptors,” which could potentially be game changers for insurance. They were judged on ingenuity, impact, applicability and feasibility of implementation.”

The finalists are a broad, interesting assortment.  Here’s a taste of the six finalists “Insurance Disruptors” and I’ll post the finalist “ACORD Innovators” next week.  That way, you can judge for yourself.

  • Intellect SEEC: Intellect Risk Analytics leverages big data and search technologies, natural language processing, artificial intelligence and proprietary noise-reduction algorithms to provide a complete view of risks and intelligent inferences about the data for more effective risk prediction.
  • Livegenic enables live mobile video communications between customers and a carrier’s claims professionals, to improve the efficiency of the collaboration process and enhance the customer’s experience.
  • Social Intelligence Corp.’s social analytics platform provides underwriters with a new type of risk score based on social media and other forms of next-generation data – what it calls “the natural evolution of data.”
  • SPLICE Software Inc. offers a sophisticated inbound/outbound messaging system that uses data and human voice to provide natural-sounding, personalized, relevant information to a client in 21 seconds. The version for the insurance industry can be used for claim reports and updates and other tasks.
  • VRM Technologies’ Sentinel is a consumer product for parents of young drivers to prevent distracted driving and other unsafe driving behaviors by alerting parents if the teen texts while driving. In addition, Sentinel installs in a car and notifies parents immediately of cell phone use, speeding and unauthorized use of the vehicle.
  • Wallflower’s sensor is installed on a gas or electric cooktop, and continually monitors the cooktop and notifies the homeowner if it is left on and unattended.  Recipient can then remotely shut off the cooktop with a smartphone, avoiding a potential fire. The company is an alumni of the Microsoft Ventures/American Family Insurance Accelerator.

Learn more:

  • Click here to see the full list of entrants in the 2015 Challenge.

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