Co-founding Halos Insurance with Techstars, and joining MetLife Digital Accelerator.

“No astronaut launches for space with their fingers crossed. That’s not how we deal with risks.”

Chris Hadfield, Legendary Astronaut with 15 hours of spacewalk and 100+ days in space.

Going to the space and starting a company:

I stumbled upon Chris Hadfield’s Masterclass trailer around the time I was founding Halos Insurance. Chris Hadfield grew up aspiring to be an astronaut and spent hundreds of days in the space. Now he is teaching us about the space exploration.

Going to space is incredibly similar to starting a company (for Elon Musk, of course, these two things mean exactly the same!). In both cases, you prepare to defy the odds. “The hidden depths of purpose” becomes so profound that you are no more afraid of taking the leap. You rather relish it. And you take a smart leap when you rigorously list the “unknowns” and do everything possible to know them.

Joining the MetLife Digital Accelerator Powered by Techstars was motivated by that spirit of rigorous preparation, knowing the unknowns, and leveraging the collective wisdom of thousands other world-class entrepreneurs.

How it all started:

I first conceived the idea of Halos Insurance back in 2014, when I was at AIG Science Team, working on commercial insurance distribution as a data scientist. By then I saw the success of Machine Learning and new technologies as it was changing the understanding of almost all aspects of the insurance value chain— starting from distribution and underwriting to claims and fraud management. I wrote the initial business plan of Halos Insurance in 2015, shared it with the senior managers, and left AIG to join a Boston based 30 people start-up called DataRobot to “learn how a start-up is built”.

Excerpt from my introduction email at DataRobot — sent out on May 8, 2015

DataRobot was on a mission to build one of the greatest modern day AI platforms: Automated Machine Learning. Over the next three years, DataRobot grew to a 430 people enterprise with a massive customer base in all six habitable continents. Today DataRobot serves newly born start-ups to Fortune-100 companies as the platform bridges the data science skill gaps or simply #domorefaster in data science. My three years at DataRobot turned out to be the wildest, super fulfilling ride in my career.

During the last three years, we also saw exponential growth in innovation in the insurance space. Metromile and The Climate Corp were two companies I was following back in 2015. That list grew significantly to include several others great companies: Policygenius, Lemonade, Ladder, to name just a few. Some made buying renters and home insurance fun, easy, and cheaper for the first time buyers, some made life insurance instantaneous, and some applied auto telematics data for precise underwriting. Both insurtechs and incumbents made substantial progress in terms of insurance UX.

With Halos Insurance, we are now moving to the next level.
90% of consumers barely file any claims in their auto or home insurance. On the other hand, insurers spend almost 100% resources post-customer acquisition on paying claims, managing claims related expenses, and defending fraud — serving only the 10% of consumers. What can we do for the 90% of consumers that stay claims free? How can we help the other 10% to avoid accidents whenever possible? How do we reduce overall fraud?

Stay tuned — as we launch our product:

MetLife Digital Accelerator Powered by Techstars:

Techstars is the worldwide network that helps entrepreneur succeed. Since its inception in 2006, Techstars companies collectively raised more than $ 5 billion and impacted literally every aspect of our lives. PillPack (the healthcare company that Amazon recently acquired), SendGrid, ClassPass, DataRobot, DigitalOcean, Ginger.IO, Plated, Sphero,… list goes on.

Founder Stories @ Techstars

150 years old MetLife is the largest life insurance company in the U.S. and heavily involved in multiple start-up and innovation initiatives around the world. Through this one-of-a-kind insurtech focused accelerator program with Techstars, MetLife is extending its deep insurance expertise to all 10 participating start-ups and moving the industry forward. All 10 participating start-ups have been working at the MetLife’s Global Technology Office (GTO) in Cary, NC until the October end, and enjoying the guidance and feedback from the senior leaders at MetLife. Read the original press release HERE.

And, here is the blog from the program Managing Director Mee-Jung Jang highlighting all 10 participating start-ups. Together, we are solving a wide range of problems in the insurance industry and building delightful products for insurance consumers. And that’s very satisfying!

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