Specialty lines insurer AXIS capital has launched AXIS Digital Ventures, a new technology innovation-focused unit. The new unit will partner with entrepreneurial companies focused on data and analytics with high-value applications; new product opportunities including emerging risks; and new distribution and insurance/reinsurance business models. The move follows an assertion by the company earlier this year that it would strengthen its operating model to hone in on agility and better position itself as its digital and data analytics efforts evolve.

The venture unit is part of the company’s global underwriting and analytics office. Its charge is ultimately to deliver more value to clients and partners, especially in distribution, says Zach Powell, head of AXIS Digital Ventures. “This means that we will be increasingly more proactive, visible and active in the insurtech marketplace,” he says.

The full resources of the organization will be brought to bear through this effort, Powell emphasizes, drawing in people, expertise and resources from throughout the company. “We recognize it is critical we adapt to the changing ecosystem and transition into a more agile company,” he says. “We want to grow our presence as a strong and credible market player within the insurtech ecosystem.”

AXIS Digital Ventures will pursue partnerships across the insurance ecosystem — with leading entrepreneurs that are identifying new efficiencies, addressing new risks and creating new products and services that will differentiate AXIS from its peers.

“For example, some of our early initiatives have expanded and strengthened our distribution and accident and health businesses,” Powell explains. “We’re seeking partners who are identifying fresh solutions and efficiencies in areas such as data & analytics, operations, process management and claims.” With AXIS’ history of bringing insights into underwriting complex risks, he explains, the company is also open to partners tackling emerging risks and industries.

“We’re looking for opportunities with insurtech entrepreneurs as they create the products and services that will shape our industry in the future,” he says. “Ultimately, these partners will help us and our industry evolve, and deliver more value to our clients and our partners in distribution.”

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