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Bringing Innovation, Ecosystems and Scale to Insurtech DIGITAL REPORT 2021

IN ASSOCIATION WITH


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BRINGING INNOVATION, ECOSYSTEMS AND SCALE TO INSURTECH


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www.ho use o f i nsurt ech . ch


HOUSE OF INSURTECH SWITZERLAND (HITS)

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Pietro Carnevale and Stefano Bison detail the founding of House of Insurtech Switzerland and its mission to drive innovation in global insurtech

O

fficially founded in December 2019 as an independent subsidiary of Generali Switzerland, the origin story of House of

Insurtech Switzerland (HITS) actually reaches back further to 2017. “At that time Generali Switzerland created an innovation function,” explains Pietro Carnevale, CEO of HITS. “As Head of Strategy and Innovation, I had the opportunity to introduce new working methods. The insurance industry also realised that, in order to make innovation even more valuable and sustainable, it had to open up and start collaborating with new varieties of partners.” What followed was a partnership with the fintech incubator and accelerator F10, which not only gave Generali Switzerland access to startup ecosystems but also enabled it to create a space for collaboration, networking and valuable information sharing. “We called the result ‘Corp Up’, and its success led the company to research the potential for improving its ecosystem, capacity for innovation and scaling capabilities ten-fold. HITS was the answer,” states Carnevale. This was the birth of HITS as an independent entity.

www.ho use o f i nsurt ech . ch

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HOUSE OF INSURTECH SWITZERLAND (HITS)

“FUNDAMENTALLY, WE FIRMLY BELIEVE THAT PARTNERSHIPS BETWEEN CORPORATES AND STARTUPS CREATES VALUE FOR BOTH PARTIES” — Pietro Carnevale, CEO, HITS

HITS operates on three pillars: ‘opening’, ‘connecting’ and ‘doing’. In effect, the hub creates a customercentric framework for the future of insurance by providing opportunities for startups to flourish and scale-up through innovation. Summarising HITS’ approach in this regard, Carnevale says, “Fundamentally, we firmly believe that

E X E C U T I V E P R O FILE :

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Pietro Carnevale Title: CEO of HITS Industry: Insurance

Location: Switzerland

CEO of House of Insurtech Switzerland (HITS), a Swiss based insurtech hub which focuses on building partnerships with startups to co-create and scale-up innovative solutions. Joined Generali Group in 2014 and Generali Switzerland in 2016 as Director of Strategy and Innovation leading the set-up of the local innovation platform and The Innovation Garage in 2018. Board Member of F10, the leading swiss Fintech Accelerator in Zurich. Passionate about Digital, Innovation, Strategy and Transformation within Financial Services. Equipped with a master degree in Engineering from Milan Politecnico and post-graduation training in Digital at IMD.


partnerships between corporates and startups creates value for both parties.” Corporations gain a three-fold advantage in speed (time to market), flexibility (costs and investment) and new talent. Startups, on the other hand, are granted market access that would otherwise be near-impossible for new organisations to penetrate quickly, while also gaining industry expertise, capital resources and rich long-term scaling opportunities. It could be argued that the overall

necessitated the creation of HITS’ three pillar strategy, with a central focus on

benefit presented by HITS for start-

digital transformation and innovation,

ups is obvious. However, what is the

and significant investment of both

gain for Generali itself? “The Generali

money (over €1bn) and time, including

Group is one of the most significant

projects such as those supporting 360°

participants in the global insurance and

Advisory, its pan-European mobil-

financial services market. In Europe

ity platform, and the development of

we are the leading insurer and we are

B2B2C ecosystems.

present in over 50 countries around

“The Group and its companies are

the globe,” states Stefano Bison, Group

pushing themselves beyond the bounda-

Head of Business Development and

ries of traditional insurance and offering

Partnerships at Generali Head Office.

services and products that, often, it is

“In 2018 we’ve launched our new strategy

not necessary to develop in-house for

aiming to become ‘lifetime partners’ to

a number of different reasons,” Bison

our customers, offering them innovative,

continues. “This is why we actively seek

personalised and integrated solu-

partnerships in adjacent industries like

tions. These aren’t ‘just’ products; we’re

those dominated by big techs or other

bundling various value-added services

incumbents, as well as with digital native

together.” Delivering this strategy

startups – often, the most intriguing www.ho use o f i nsurt ech . ch

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HOUSE OF INSURTECH SWITZERLAND (HITS)

08 ones.” Generali is a firm believer in ‘open

state-of-the-art ‘fast-track’ procure-

innovation’ and seeks out collabora-

ment processes and innovation funds

tors who champion it in a similar way. In

mitigate the historical difficulties of

practice this takes on both external

partnering with startups.

and internal dimensions: externally,

Although Generali is meticulous in its

the company leverages wide net-

planning, this is not to say that the pro-

works of partnerships with incubators,

cess is without risk on both sides of the

accelerators and open innovation

equation, as Bison explains: “We tend to

platforms to gain valuable insights

prefer evaluating startups operating in

into insurance trends, build a syner-

at least one of our major markets across

gistic cultural perspective with smaller

Europe, Asia and Latin America, and that

companies, and source solutions for

already have minimum market traction

specific projects. Internally, mean-

(few corporate clients and some access

while, bespoke support structures

to revenue). In this way we partially

are created to serve the dual needs

reduce the risks that are, in any case,

of Generali and its partners, while

inevitable when working with early stage


companies.” Carnevale adds, “At HITS

to anticipate customer pain points and

we follow a rigorously messy innovation

address them in the overall design.

approach going from ideation, proof of

HITS tailors its value proposition to

concept (POC), minimum viable product

startups based on the candidate’s level

(MVP), and finally iteration with custom-

of development, with a primary focus on

ers until we get to an MVP that we can

pre-Seed to post-Series A companies.

try to scale.” With POC taking between

“For the ones in pre-Seed or Seed, we

30 and 60 days, and MVP between

help lower their burn rate by provid-

three and six months, local or interna-

ing free office space in our 600m2

tional scaling can commence once the

‘Innovation Garage’ in Zurich and get

value hypothesis of the project has been

their first paying customers. This is

validated. Then, analysing trends and

particularly relevant for B2B startups

gauging strategic priorities, HITS is able

where lack of credentials and track 09

E X E C U T I V E P R O FILE :

Stefano Bison Title: Group Head of Business Development & Partnerships Company: Generali

Location: Italy

Stefano Bison is in charge of the Unit responsible for sourcing, originating and launching, at Group / global level, new business initiatives and new (strategic) partnerships with startups or other leading companies, triggering business innovation / transformation in the Generali Group. He is an ex-management consultant (Senior Manager at The Boston Consulting Group) and, previously, investment banker (at Lehman Brothers – FIG M&A, then Nomura after LB bail-out). In his spare time he also acts as an angel investor and entrepreneur mentor to various startups. www.ho use o f i nsurt ech . ch


Where innovation meets industry F10 is where innovation meets industry, helping today’s talent create tomorrow’s technology. It is an ecosystem of startups, corporates, industry experts, and investors, with local hubs in Switzerland, Singapore, and Spain. Its mission is to stimulate worldwide collaboration to further innovation across industries. Visit our website and watch the movie to find out more about F10.

Visit our website


“GENERALI IS PUSHING ITSELF BEYOND THE BOUNDARIES OF TRADITIONAL INSURANCE AND OFFERING SERVICES AND PRODUCTS THAT DON’T NECESSARILY HAVE TO BE DEVELOPED IN-HOUSE” — Stefano Bison, Group Head of Business Development and Partnerships, Generali Switzerland

record can be a killer,” says Carnevale. “For pre-Series A or beyond, we instead provide references to investors, help their business development within Generali, and provide access to our network. Finally, because of Generali’s global presence, HITS provides the perfect launch base for scaling up and internationalisation, should the startup be ready for it.” He reports that initial indicators point to smoother financing, higher valuation and better longevity for startups who opt to partner with HITS, as opposed to not.

EFMA Innovation Award CLICK TO WATCH

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HOUSE OF INSURTECH SWITZERLAND (HITS)

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2019

Year founded

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Number of employees


One prominent example put forward by Carnevale is LINGS, a communitybased on-demand insurance company, an enterprise not dissimilar from American insurtech Trōv. Founded in November 2017 as Generali Switzerland’s first corporate startup venture, LINGS has proven popular with its targeted community (“bikers and photographers”), has gone on to successfully scale internationally and has already built a presence in two European markets. In addition to Generali, numerous other partners contribute to the value of HITS’ ecosystem, either by filling skill gaps, providing valuable ‘cultural links’ or technology. “Partners like Google and Salesforce are fundamental not only for the tech expertise, know-how and solutions they bring to us, but also to give speed, future-proof sustainability, weight and credibility in the market,” says Carnevale. It should also be noted that companies who got their start as a direct result of HITS can also become valuable collaborators too, as was the case with insurtechs ‘vlot’, Billte and Imburse. “Thanks to vlot’s technology, Generali can quickly test innovative www.ho use o f i nsurt ech . ch

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HOUSE OF INSURTECH SWITZERLAND (HITS)

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“...BECAUSE OF GENERALI’S GLOBAL PRESENCE, HITS PROVIDES THE PERFECT LAUNCH BASE FOR SCALING UP AND INTERNATIONALISATION, SHOULD THE STARTUP BE READY FOR IT” — Pietro Carnevale, CEO, HITS

of our work is our investment in under-

standing how using artificial intelligence will provide value-added services and smooth interactions to our customers in

solutions in the area of risk protection.

the future.”

While together with Billte and Imburse

When considering what success in

we are developing a product to make

the mid- to long-term would look like for

saving money easier and more acces-

HITS, Carnevale is emphatic that realis-

sible for young people. Another cool part

ing the initiative’s joint value for both


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corporates and startups is essential.

that this doesn’t indicate we’re not

“We’ve not yet figured out all the ‘right’

innovating enough.” HITS and Carnevale

ingredients,” he caveats, “but, despite

are palpably hungry for success and

being in the early days of our journey,

with such a thorough grasp on develop-

most KPIs that we measure compared

ing insurance companies to their full

to previous year are giving positive

potential, it’s difficult to imagine that they

signals: speed is increasing (six-times

won’t achieve it. As the project grows in

better from first talk to first day of work-

maturity, increases cost effectiveness,

ing, and two-times faster average time

improves accessibility and enhances

from prototype to MVP); our startup

scalability, the standing of HITS in the

ecosystem has expanded six-fold and

insurance market as an innovation

our delivery capacity four-fold. Lastly

leader is likely to grow simultaneously.

we’re experiencing a low failure rate (<30%). However, we need to be careful www.ho use o f i nsurt ech . ch


SOODMATTENSTRASSE 10 8134 ADLISWIL SWITZERLAND www.houseofinsurtech.ch

P0WERED BY

Profile for Business Chief Europe

HITS Brochure Jan 2021  

HITS Brochure Jan 2021