The insurance industry is working harder to incorporate Silicon Valley-style innovation into its enterprises, and John Hancock has made some bold moves in that direction this year.

A few months after launching a Valley-style innovation lab, the Lab of Forward Thinking (LOFT), the life insurer has partnered that lab with MassChallenge, a startup accelerator; and the Startup Institute, described as "a skills and culture 'boot camp' for individuals entering startups and high-growth companies." The Lab will share "resources for creativity and innovation" with MassChallenge, and work with Startup Institute to help train and place the program's graduates.

"We're excited to partner with MassChallenge and Startup Institute as an integral part of Boston's thriving entrepreneurial ecosystem," said Jesse Bean, CFA, CAIA, Vice President and Head of Innovation at Manulife, John Hancock's parent company. "Rapid changes in technology, consumer behavior, and the competitive environment are presenting a growing number of challenges for financial services companies. Further leveraging relationships with leaders such as MassChallenge and Startup Institute, we believe, will have benefits for all parties."

Bean describes LOFT as "an innovation hub where employees work with our businesses on disruptive and transformative ideas for new technologies and products designed to help foster holistic and long-lasting customer relationships." That makes it an ideal complement to the startup accelerator concept, says Rich DiTieri, Head of Global Partnerships at Startup Institute. 

"What companies like John Hancock are building, with projects such as the LOFT, is central to the future of business and technology innovation. As Boston's startup ecosystem grows and becomes more mature, it's important for start-ups, scale-ups, and mature businesses to work together to drive innovation and growth from all angles," he says. "We're pleased to be working alongside a world class company that is embracing and designing for innovation."

For more on startup accelerators, check out our report on an insurance-specific one in Iowa

See pictures of John Hancock LOFT

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