Innovating a Centuries-Old Industry


A little over three hundred years ago, London was the setting for arguably the most important pivot the insurance industry has ever witnessed: in Edward Lloyd’s coffee house on Tower St, the great and the good of the merchant shipping industry gathered over a cuppa to listen to the proprietor drop nuggets of shipping news and gossip — sensing a business opportunity, Lloyd began hosting maritime auctions, collating information, and even publishing a industry newsletter three times a week. The relationships, ideas, and business deals struck in this coffee house spawned an industry, with Lloyd’s of London, and Lloyd’s Register amongst the organisations tracing their roost to this must humble of beginnings — and, truth be told, that’s probably the first and last great innovation the insurance industry has embraced. At NDRC, in partnership with Aviva Ireland, we plan to change that.

At the end of May, we will host the Aviva InsurTech Bootcamp Weekend: to paraphrase Gene Murphy, it’s 194,400 seconds in which to learn something new — about yourself, about Aviva and the wider insurance industry, about entrepreneurship — and just maybe take the first step towards creating something special.

So what’s going to happen at the InsurTech Bootcamp? In many respects the recipe will be similar to a Startup Weekend: we’re gathering together innovators, designers, technologists, dropping in a liberal splash of insurance industry knowledge, and a helping of entrepreneurship smarts from NDRC’s venture investment team. The Aviva mentors on hand will proceed to outline a number of themes that they’re interested in focusing on:

  • Big Data & Privacy;
  • Internet of Things & Wearables;
  • Smart Ageing;
  • Climate;
  • Fraud;
  • Customer Engagement.

We’ll then call on idea-owners to give a 60-second pitch (you HAVE to read Ed Fidgeon-Kavanagh’s post on how to hack this process), followed by a public voting session to pick the top ideas; once the ideas are picked, the teams are formed, and it’s heads down until you resurface on Sunday evening for the pitches, and a chance to walk away with a cash prize.

It’s going to be a great weekend: an opportunity to learn, build relationships, and sample some of the real life experiences of being a founder, in a supportive and structured environment. There’s also be plenty of opportunity to meet and engage with the C-level team from Aviva Ireland; we’ll have Ben Luckett, Managing Director of Aviva Ventures in the building; and there’ll be NDRC portfolio teams on hand to share their startup stories. I’m incredibly excited to be facilitating this weekend, and playing a small part in the disruption of an industry.

Full info on the InsurTech Bootcamp Weekend schedule and sign-up details.

[linkedinbadge URL=”” connections=”off” mode=”icon” liname=”David Scanlon”], the author of this post, is Venture Investment Leader at NDRC and this article was originally published on medium.