LEAP’s PROTO Accelerator Launches InsurTech Platform

Applications open for insurance technology business startups to receive investment, mentorship and resources during 2019 program

LANSING, Mich. – The Lansing Economic Area Partnership (LEAP), together with key industry leaders Delta Dental and Farm Bureau Insurance have launched a new insurtech accelerator program, PROTO InsurTech, to inspire and stimulate innovation and entrepreneurship in the insurance industry.

“PROTO InsurTech is the first and only startup accelerator program in the state of Michigan focused on insurance technology and the digital transformation of the industry,” said Bob Trezise, President and CEO of LEAP. “We are eager to leverage this new program in support of Michigan’s insurance industry and its rapidly growing Lansing hub.”

Two major insurance companies, Farm Bureau Insurance of Michigan and Delta Dental of Michigan, join LEAP as significant investors and founders in launching PROTO InsurTech. Both companies are headquartered in the Lansing area and share a passion for insurance industry innovation. PROTO InsurTech has been built to help them and other insurance carriers in Michigan understand and leverage opportunities with insurtech companies.

For Don Simon, CEO of Farm Bureau Insurance, the mentorship opportunities offered through PROTO Accelerator are a key reason for supporting the efforts, “Talent is our most valuable asset at Farm Bureau, and a program such as PROTO Insurtech provides our staff opportunities to engage with products and startups that they would likely not experience elsewhere.”

“The demand for innovation in the insurance industry is at its highest point, and the opportunity for startups in the insurtech realm couldn’t be better,” said Goran Jurkovic, COO of Delta Dental. “The timing for this launch perfectly capitalizes on this momentum, and the program aligns perfectly with Delta Dental’s commitment to build healthy, smart, vibrant communities.”

The PROTO InsurTech program will provide startup companies with up to $60,000 in exchange for a small equity stake in the company. Beginning in early 2019, each company selected will participate in an intensive four-month program that provides access to critical business development resources including product development and design consulting, business plan development, marketing and branding, legal support, accounting support, continued mentoring and guidance from insurance carrier executives and others, as well as additional access to capital. Upon completion of the program, the participating companies will be poised to go to market with a product via proof of concept with an insurance carrier partner or will already be in the market.

“The insurance carriers clustered in Lansing are hungry for innovation, and this program is designed to facilitate their interaction with technology companies who may very well think and act quite different from they do,” said Tony Willis, President of PROTO Accelerator. “PROTO InsurTech will provide the supportive environment and connectivity for startups looking to bring their products to market and interact deeply with insurance carriers, all while building a more complete business and compelling value proposition.”

“PROTO InsurTech is another great asset the State of Michigan can deploy as a leader in guiding the future of insurance services, with an ecosystem that leverages technology and smart regulation to drive better consumer interactions and outcomes,” said Pat McPharlin, Director of the Michigan Department of Insurance and Financial Services.

Based in Lansing, Michigan, PROTO Accelerator has with great success been focused on physical product startup companies over the past two years. PROTO Accelerator is a business accelerator subsidiary of the Lansing Economic Area Partnership (LEAP), Lansing’s regional economic development organization. The new insurtech platform will connect Michigan’s rapidly growing insurance cluster to insurance technology (insurtech) startup companies, working to bring new business models and technology innovations for traditional insurers to embrace, partner with and learn from.

Companies and entrepreneurs can submit applications to PROTO Accelerator’s 2019 InsurTech program from Oct. 1 until Nov. 16, 2018. Selected applicants will be announced in December with an anticipated start date in early 2019.


About LEAP

The Lansing Economic Area Partnership (LEAP) is a coalition of area leaders partnering to build a stronger community for all—working every day to grow, retain and attract business.