August 2023, Amplified – Florida Takeouts, Hippo Insurance and Who Really Makes the Online Influencer List?


Michael Waitze worked in Global Finance for more than 20 years, employed by firms like Citigroup, Morgan Stanley and Goldman Sachs, primarily in Tokyo.  Michael lived and worked in Tokyo from February 1990 until December 2011.  Michael always maintained a particular focus on how technology could be used to make businesses more efficient and to drive P/L growth. Michael is a leader in the digital media space, building one of the biggest and fastest-growing podcast listener bases in the region.  His show has listeners in more than 130 countries and his company, Michael Waitze Media produces some of Asia’s most popular podcasts.

Theresa Blissing is a seasoned insurance professional with a strong background in operational roles with insurers, innovation consulting and academic research and the author of the #1 best-selling book The Future of Insurance, Volume IV. Asia Rising. She started her insurance career in 2004 when she joined Italian insurer Generali in Frankfurt, Germany. In 2015, fascinated by the potential of new technologies and their impact on the insurance industry, she decided to delve into a new challenge and pursue a master's program with a research component, focusing her study on the adoption of big data in the Southeast Asian insurance industry. During that time, Theresa also transitioned her career to management consulting. She worked with a range of consulting firms and started her own consulting and research practice, Accelerating Insurance. In 2019, Theresa co-founded the Asia InsurTech Podcast to bring Asia’s insurance success stories to a global audience. Currently based in New York, Theresa continues to push the boundaries of insurance innovation and has launched a new global podcast – InsurTech Amplified.

David Gritz

David Gritz is an InsurTech community leader, public speaker, and InsurTech advisor. He has been featured in recognized Insurance media including Carrier Management, Digital Insurance, IIR, AM Best TV, and the Re/Image Podcast. David is the co-founder of InsurTech NY, the largest InsurTech community in the NY metro area. David also serves as a strategic advisor to high-growth InsurTechs to help them go from concept to scale. Previously David has served as the Director of Innovation for the Silicon Valley Insurance Accelerator (SVIA) and has led product at Zero, a behavioral safety focused InsurTech acquired by EverestRe. He holds a J.D. from the Mitchell Hamline School of Law and business and industrial engineering degrees from Lehigh University.

Tony Lew

Tony Lew is the Managing Director and co-founder of InsurTech NY, the largest InsurTech community in North America. InsurTech NY has run a growth-stage accelerator since 2020 and graduated 80 portfolio companies. It also runs the Digital MGA Lab which has graduated nine InsurTech startups focused on distribution of insurance. Tony is also a General Partner of InsurTech Fund, a seed-stage VC fund focused on InsurTech and InsurTech adjacencies. Prior to building InsurTech NY, Tony held product strategy and management leadership roles at Alibaba and Gartner, where he managed $1B IT product research business to double-digit growth annually. Tony also advised and helped Fortune 500 companies with growth and operational strategy as a management consultant at BCG. Before switching his career to business strategic roles, Tony held numerous individual and leadership roles in a variety of IT functions including Business Intelligence, Data Management, IT infrastructure, and Software engineering at companies such as NBCUniversal, Verizon and Informatica. Tony has an MBA from NYU Stern, MS from George Washington University, and BS from Carnegie Mellon University.

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In “This Month, Amplified” Michael Waitze and Theresa Blissing talked together with David Gritz and Tony Lew about the Florida insurance market, Hippo’s pause on all new business and whether their stock price reflects the reality, the overall challenges property insurance is facing and how to make the list as an insurance influencer.

The Florida insurance market has been making news recently.  Citizens, which was set up as a last resort insurance provider, has grown significantly in recent years, now holding more than 1.3 million policies. Citizens’ growth is partly attributed to its capped annual rate increases, which often make it the cheapest option in Florida. However, the takeout offers from companies like Slide suggest that the primary market is catching up.

Hippo has halted all new business across the country. The company plans to review portfolio performance and will decide on resuming operations on a state-by-state basis. We also discussed Hippo’s share price and if it reflects the real value of the business.

We also discussed the devastating wildfire in Maui and the mounting challenges the property insurance sector faces due to the increasing frequency of such disasters. With insurers likely increasing premiums to counterbalance losses from such extreme events, how can we ensure insurance remains accessible to everyone? Can insights be drawn from the health insurance industry? This might be a topic of interest for the InsurTech Influencers out there.

This raised another question; how does one truly define an influencer? The list being circulated by InsurTechNews has sparked curiosity. Is there really a scientific method behind identifying the foremost voices in the sector, or is it merely a compilation of familiar faces? We’re keen to hear Matteo Carbone‘s perspective on this.

Let us know your top InsurTech influencers. Perhaps we can compile a unique list based on your suggestions.

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