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Zurich launches second Innovation Championship

Last year’s winner uses AI to extract data from insurance documents

Zurich Insurance Group has launched the second edition of its Innovation Championship, offering start-ups the opportunity to work with the insurer to grow their business.

The global contest is looking for established start-ups with commercially viable technologies and innovative business models that tackle challenges around climate, health, automation and other issues expected to put a strain on the next generation.

Zurich said there is a wildcard category for start-ups with other new solutions that have the potential to help the insurer “push the boundaries of transformation and explore new frontiers of innovation”.

Giovanni Giuliani, group head of strategy, innovation and business development, said the competition is part of the insurer’s mission to help customers become more sustainable and resilient, while fostering the growth of start-ups that bring innovative new approaches to that work.

Applications are open until 17 December 2019. Each of Zurich’s participating country businesses will select one start-up and develop a use case together over a five-month period. The field will then be narrowed to eight for the final round in August 2020.

Three winners will have the chance to work with Zurich on a local pilot with the goal to scale it globally.

Zurich’s inaugural Innovation Championship received more than 450 entries from 49 countries. The company is working with the winners and several of the finalists on ideas that range from improving mental and physical wellbeing to cutting water waste and simplifying and accelerating processes for customers. The Gold award in the tournament went to Chisel AI, which uses artificial intelligence to extract, identify and classify data from unstructured digital data sources, such as insurance documents.