EP 12 – Kobi Bendelak and David Gritz – InsurTechs and the Impact of the War in Israel


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 AsiaTechPodcast.com show has listeners in more than 130 countries and his company, Michael Waitze Media produces some of Asia’s most popular podcasts.

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.

Kobi Bendelak is a prominent figure in the Israeli Insurtech ecosystem, serving as the visionary CEO of InsurTech Israel. With his entrepreneurial drive, Kobi established the company with the aim of promoting and spearheading the advancement of Insurtech in Israel. Under his leadership, InsurTech Israel has become the foremost and most active organization in the country's Insurtech landscape. The company encompasses four key areas of operation: investments, consulting, media, and an acceleration program. Through these strategic activities, Kobi and his team have cultivated a thriving ecosystem that bridges the gap between traditional insurance practices and cutting-edge technological innovation. Prior to his role at InsurTech Israel, Kobi showcased his expertise as the founder and CEO of Reshef Insurance Brokers, a prominent entity within the Migdal/Generali Insurance Group. With over 22 years of experience in the insurance industry, Kobi has honed his knowledge and developed a deep understanding of the complexities and dynamics of the field. Kobi's educational background includes a Bachelor's degree in Management and a Master's degree in Law, both attained from Bar Ilan University. Additionally, he has demonstrated exceptional leadership capabilities and a commitment to his country as a Colonel in the IDF (Israel Defense Forces) Reserve. Through his unwavering dedication, strategic acumen, and extensive experience, Kobi Bendelak continues to drive the transformation of the Israeli Insurtech sector, leaving an indelible mark on the industry.

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InsurTech Amplified and David Gritz spoke with Kobi Bendelak, an Israeli entrepreneur and founder of InsurTech Israel to get unique insights into the current situation in Israel, the history of the country, and the impact on the InsurTech industry.

Here are some of the insights we learned from the conversation:

1. Shock and Horror: Bendelak described the initial shock and horror that Israelis experienced when rockets and missiles were launched from Gaza into Tel Aviv and other parts of the country. The suddenness and brutality of the attacks were unprecedented, leaving the Israeli population in disbelief.
2. Unprecedented Violence: Bendelak expressed his disbelief at the level of violence perpetrated by Hamas during the conflict. The kidnappings, killings, and targeting of innocent civilians, including babies and mothers, were unimaginable acts of brutality.
3. Spirit of Resilience: Despite the ongoing conflict, Bendelak highlighted the resilience and unity of the Israeli people. The Israeli spirit, he explained, transcends religious and cultural differences, bringing people together in times of crisis.
4. The Israeli-Palestinian Conflict: Bendelak provided a historical overview of the Israeli-Palestinian conflict, starting from the British Mandate after the Ottoman Empire and leading to the establishment of Israel as a state in 1948. He emphasized the complexity of the conflict and the challenges faced by both Israelis and Palestinians.
5. Misunderstandings and Media Bias: Bendelak acknowledged that media bias exists when it comes to reporting on the Israeli-Palestinian conflict. He attributed this bias to various factors, including lack of firsthand experience and past mistakes made by Israel in handling the communications around the ongoing conflict.
6. Gaza’s Economic Potential: Bendelak highlighted the economic potential of Gaza, comparing it to Singapore in terms of population density and the opportunity for economic development. He stressed the importance of providing economic opportunities to the people of Gaza to prevent radicalization and foster a better future.
7. Support for Israeli Insurtech: Bendelak expressed gratitude for the overwhelming support received from the global insurtech community, despite the ongoing conflict. He emphasized the importance of maintaining relationships and supporting Israeli startups in the industry.
8. Resilience in the Face of Adversity: Bendelak noted that Israel has a history of resilience and innovation, with past conflicts leading to the development of groundbreaking technologies and solutions. He expressed confidence that the current situation would only strengthen the Israeli InsurTech ecosystem.
9. Importance of Balanced Reporting: Bendelak encouraged readers to seek out balanced reporting and diverse perspectives on the Israeli-Palestinian conflict. He suggested reading Israeli newspapers in English and following reputable sources for a more nuanced understanding of the situation.
10. Looking Toward the Future: Bendelak expressed optimism for the future, despite the current challenges. He emphasized the need for continued collaboration and support within the InsurTech industry to foster growth and innovation in Israel.

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