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For the second consecutive year, innovation consultancy Quesnay held a Female Founders in Insurtech startup competition for women founders in the industry. The company has been holding horizontal showcases for women founders across industries for four years total.

The competition is supported by CSAA Insurance Group’s venture arm, Avanta, as well as RGAx. Applicants from 25 countries came in with five finalists selected to pitch on Sept. 23, 2019, in Las Vegas.

To prepare, the finalists participated in a four-week mentorship program, where they had access to regulatory and compliance training from Boost Insurance, office hours from a previous Female Founders in Tech winner, and other assistance as they refined their product.

The top three pitches received a combined $25,000 cash prize, complimentary access to co-working space at Upward Hartford, and an Innovation Women membership. The first place winner also receives additional mentoring from QBE Ventures.

Finally, a people’s choice award winner was given a second chance to pitch to innovation execs at Insurtech Connect’s showcase the next day.

Following is a look into the finalists’ event. You can take a look at some the participants and learn about their companies, and find out who took each prize.
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Been there before
The event kicked off with a presentation from judge Jen Fitzgerald, whose Policygenius was one of the first insurtechs to have breakout success. “Capital is oxygen,” she said, advising the founders to “get advice from founders who are slightly ahead of you on the growth curve” on how to pitch to VCs. “It looks like some companies wave a wand and make millions of dollars, but the slog can take months,” she related. “But execution is everything. It boils down to people, culture, and getting aligned on strategy."
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Threat assessment
The first presenter was Gentry Lane of Anova, which provides cybersecurity software to defend against the advanced persistent threats of states like Iran, China, Russia and North Korea. “There’s two types of companies that get hit: those who will tell you they’ve been breached and those that are lying,”Lane said. Anova uses AI and machine learning to power its vRAM forensic analysis of networks, she explained.
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Automation sensation
Next up was Aurora Voss of Claimspace, who had to present remotely from her home in Australia due to a health issue. Her company is focused on helping insurers in lines like life, worker’s compensation and commercial lines automate claims. Most claims software is focused on personal P&C due to the “low complexity of the market,” she explains, but these other business lines are “still spending half their working day collecting claims requirements.” Claimspace was the first place winner.
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Live look-in
Following Voss was Jen Friel of Dropin, which provides live video customers can use to relay damage images to their insurers when it’s hard to get adjusters to their location. The slightly more mature company already has a partnership with Lyft, she noted. Dropin took second place and also won the People’s Choice award.
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Bot time
After her, Liri Segal of LEO, a conversational AI platform, took the stage. “We give you time to invest in your customers while we automate the rest,” she pitched, talking about how her company provides quotes via white-labeled mobile chat and text. The funding model is a “success fee:” “You pay only if you see results,” she said.
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The final presenter was Kate Terry of Surround Insurance, who said the insurance industry had to adapt to changing customer profiles. “Insurance used to be something you bought at a coming of age moment: you get married, you bought a home together, and got home insurance.” But now with delays common among young people on those milestones, “they are opting out entirely and exposed to risk,” Terry explained. Surround’s solution is a subscription product that bundles several mono-line insurances into a front end that appears as though it’s only one item, then changes as the customer does. It’s first product is aimed at the “asset-light” customer, who needs rental coverage, non-owned auto (for car sharing and similar), and some liability coverage for a side gig.

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