The Finance Ministry and the Tel Aviv Stock Exchange are looking to Israeli startups to find new ways to help local pension and insurance funds — which manage trillions of shekels of citizens’ savings — reinvent the way they work through technology.
Dorit Salinger, managing director of the Capital Markets, Insurance and Savings Authority at the Finance Ministry, and Ittai Ben-Zeev, CEO of TASE, said on Monday they were setting up a hackathon, the first one ever to be led by a financial regulator, that aims to promote digitalization and technological innovation in the fields of pension and insurance. Winners will be awarded prizes worth thousands of shekels, the entities said in a statement.
The idea is to get Israeli entrepreneurs to better understand the needs and challenges facing the pension and insurance sectors, and to create connections between startups and the industry.
The gathering will help promote “solutions that will help the savers and the insured, and improve the organizations’ operational efficacy,” the statement said. The project is also expected to form a basis for further cooperative projects between high-tech entrepreneurs and the industry, ultimately leading to new products for the future of the pensions and insurance sectors, the statement said.
The sectors, which have remained largely untouched by technological developments, are now seeing billions of dollars being poured globally into so called insurtech startups, generally spin-offs from the fintech area, seeking to innovate and challenge the industry incumbents. In total, deals to insurance technology startups rose 42 percent in 2016, compared with the previous year, hitting 173, with total funding of $1.69 billion, according to CB Insights, a New York-based data firm.
Key figures from the Israeli industry will take part in the hackathon and share their ideas with entrepreneurs, the statement said. The competitors will face challenges that have been chosen by teams of experts from the Finance Ministry, TASE, and the pension and insurance industry.
The hackathon will take place on November 6 and 7, at the Tel Aviv Stock Exchange.
“The holding of this unique hackathon is another step in our efforts to advance innovation and digitalization in the fields of pension and insurance for the benefit of the insured and the savers, and to enable insurers and administrative bodies to enjoy a more efficient workflow,” Salinger said. “The solutions for the challenges we created are expected to redefine the consuming culture in pensions and insurance, and help exercise consumers rights to the fullest.”