Britam has launched Beta Lab, a new insurance innovation hub, as it aims to nurture budding insuretech startups and fast-track product development in the industry.
Beta Lab, located at Britam’s headquarters in Upperhill, incorporates a corporate acceleration program aimed at exploring acquisitions and collaborations with technology-driven startups and innovators solving challenges within the legacy insurance industry.
The lab’s mission is to incubate, innovate, and accelerate startups, nurturing and empowering innovation among internal staff, while also exploring innovation opportunities with insuretechs and fintechs.
Beta Lab also offers an internship program of up to six months, providing an ideal environment for incubation and co-creation by both startups and established global tech firms such as Visa and Amazon Web Services. Innovators will be able to turn their ideas into successful businesses through support in capital investment and product and business development. Viable ventures will be scaled up through equity ownership or joint ventures.
Beta Lab has already made significant strides. It has developed a weblink that enables Britam to receive motor insurance leads from Auto Express and a portal that will hold these leads data, track engagements and conversions through the telesales team, and give visibility to the Auto Express team. The same platform can be used to integrate with other partners too. Two internship cohorts have also been mentored at the Beta Lab, between April 2023 and Jan 2024, and have transitioned to other companies as data scientists and full-stack app developers.
The Beta Lab has also facilitated the growth of several startups. These include Motisure, which developed a trip insurance distribution platform through a WhatsApp Chatbot called Sure +, offering affordable Personal Accident coverage for public transport users. Karopay introduced M-SOMA, a mobile-based savings platform supporting educational initiatives for parents and learning institutions. AiCare collaborated with Britam to create Motomatic, a web and app platform that offers mileage-based motor insurance coverage to customers.
The strategic vision behind Beta Lab aligns with one of Britam’s 2021-2025 growth pillars, which is leveraging partnerships with digital platforms and other financial services providers to reach emerging consumers.
“The Beta Lab sandbox reaffirms Britam’s commitment to innovation and partnerships in technology, both of which are pillars of our EPIC² strategy. Technology partnerships will help Britam scale up, conquer new markets, and prepare for the future,” said Tom Gitogo, Group Managing Director, and CEO of Britam Holdings.
Ms Evah Kimani, Britam’s Partnership and Digital Director, added, “Technology has a pivotal role in reshaping the insurance landscape. The Beta Lab is a strategic initiative that will not only enhance efficiency in our operations but also enable us to offer personalized services, quicken claims processing, and streamline general insurance in the country.”
Looking ahead, the Beta Lab plans to establish workshops aimed at training, brainstorming, and mentoring startups, and innovators. These workshops will be conducted in collaboration with key institutions involved in nurturing innovation, to identify promising ideas and scale them up. The Beta Lab will also continue with the internship program to provide hands-on experience and learning opportunities for fresh college graduates and innovators.
Additionally, the Lab will facilitate investor pitches and funding, promote an innovation-driven culture within Britam, and proactively scout for promising startups and innovators. It will also actively participate in innovation events, contributing to and enriching the broader innovation ecosystem.