HackZurich quickly has become the largest hackathon in Europe. The third edition, that took place in Zurich in September, had quite a few participants from the insurance industry. Therefore it was the first European hackathon with a focus on new, technological solutions for insurance companies. An encouraging and exciting milestone.

Eurapco and its Partners believe that digitalisation and innovation are the key to the future of the insurance industry. Our clients demand for easy and quick manners to use our services. This means that we need to offer omni-channel solutions to cover all possible needs. Therefore Eurapco Partners are working hard on digital transformation and are always on the lookout for new and young talent. One of the reasons that Eurapco has joined HackZurich this year as an official co-sponsor.

A hackathon is an event where programmers meet to do collaborative computer programming. The goal is to create usable software or prototypes. This makes a hackathon a great metaphor for the ‘war for talent’ that we compete in, with other industries. During the HackZurich participants such as computer programmers, interface designers, developers, project managers and experts from other fields came together to collaborate intensively. A weekend full of energy, inspiration and creative solutions.

Europe’s largest hackathon

I am proud that from this year on, the insurance industry is also part of and active in this hackathon. HackZurich 2016 took place from 16 to 18 of September and is now the largest hackathon in Europe with 565 participants from over 30 countries. Participants worked together in teams and submitted a total of 152 projects during a 40 hour non-stop hackathon: 20.280 hours of coding. The highly educated participants from all over the world represented the quality of this hackathon.

The weekend brought lots of inspiration and insights on new technologies and agile working. Eurapco participated with five teams made up by 14 Partner employees and 3 students. The 25 best teams had the chance to present their idea in a two minutes pitch. Among these finalists there were two of the Eurapco teams. A tremendous achievement! To top it off: the Eurapco-team from Länsförsäkringar won the award for best innovative solution in the insurance industry that was given by head sponsor Axa Winterthur. Their awarded idea was a prototype of a Chat-Bot that aims to reduce damage via gamification.

Working it out

An initiative like this European hackathon helps Eurapco and its Partners in achieving our goals. If we want to change our industry we need to market ourselves in the war for talent, gather new information for our prototypes and learn about working in small, engaged and cross-functional teams. This will allow us to build bridges between generations and industries. I am convinced that in in this way, we provide progression in the insurance industry and will be able to serve our clients in a better, cheaper and more innovative way. We’ve seen amazing outcomes of the hackathon in September and we are already collaborating with our partners and also with Axa to work out the prototypes of our cases in the coming months. If we manage to create concrete products and services and keep on innovating, the output of each hackathon will become a milestone in an innovative marathon. It all starts with a dream. If we want to change our industry, we have to be present at events like HackZurich. We have to be in the middle of this changing and inspiring environment.

Being open and sharing

It´s obvious that we need to share knowledge like the participants did during the hackathon and be more open to collaboration if we want to make a difference. ‘Sharing’ and ‘innovating’ are our keywords for the next few years. Accordingly, I would like to set an example by sharing my thoughts with you via a personal blog on the Eurapco website. As of now, I will periodically post a blog here, in which I will share my thoughts, views and questions with you. Because this is what Eurapco is all about!

What is your innovative idea for the insurance business? Big or small? Do you have any ideas or questions you would like to share with me? Please be my guest and post your comments below.

Wilma de Bruijn, General Manager of Eurapco.