The competition, which began earlier this year with almost 1,400 entrants, attracted a range of innovative ideas that seek to solve some of society's most pressing challenges. From financial literacy for children to parametric insurance and climate-related catastrophic risk modeling, the entrants have used big ideas to address concerns looming for the next generation.
"The Zurich Innovation Championship is about much more than creating new insurance solutions. These startups and entrepreneurs are bringing enthusiasm and creativity to the task of solving some of our world's most pressing challenges. Together, we intend to offer our customers worldwide new ways to help build a sustainable and efficient future."
The eight finalists were chosen from 25 contestants selected by Zurich businesses around the world to work with them in a "Proof of Concept" phase. The finalists will now further deepen their projects with Zurich in order to present their solutions to some of society's biggest challenges to Zurich's Group Executive Committee in October.
The eight finalists, representing the four regions of Zurich's business, are:
- Mellow: Hong Kong-based Mellow has developed a personal, interactive app for children and parents that teaches financial literacy through practical experience with daily finances. The app is paired with a credit card to track spending and savings, and provides parents with a way to reward positive behaviors.
- Pops! Diabetes Care: An alternative to traditional blood sugar testing is Australia winner Pops! Diabetes Care's app that works from a mobile phone. Users manage their condition with such features as real-time glucose monitoring and AI-driven virtual coaching.
- Parametrix: U.K. winner Parametrix has introduced a parametric insurance model to technology-dependent businesses. The index-based coverage pays out automatically when service goes down under certain parameters. Covered are cloud outages, network failures, third-party system crashes and other hazards that can cause IT service downtime.
- Wenalyze: Insurers often receive inaccurate information on small-to-medium-sized enterprises that has to be verified manually by underwriters. Wenalyze, based in Spain, provides a solution using big data, machine learning and data matching to verify information and identify insurance needs.
- DeepAgro: This finalist from Argentina uses technology that includes deep learning, data mining and the Internet of Things to develop weed detection systems and other agricultural products. The company's system performs a selective spray application of herbicides that kills weeds among soybean crops.
- DESCIFRA: This Mexico-based finalist provides a service that reveals micro markets for businesses. Using big data, machine learning and geospatial intelligence analysis, DESCIFRA creates tables, graphs, maps and other tools to predict location-based scenarios and drive decision-making.
- Jupiter Intelligence: The startup provides catastrophic risk modeling that factors in ongoing climate change. It delivers risk-focused and actionable climate-related insights, which have the potential to enhance efforts to create climate change resilience for Zurich customers.
- ClaimFlo: Safekeep is a New York City-based fintech and its ClaimFlo solution is a rules-driven, straight-through processing platform for property and casualty claims. Applying machine learning, the solution has the potential for increasing efficiency and cost effectiveness in identifying and processing claims for investigations and recovery.