Hannover Re launches Johannesburg programme for reinsurance startups


German firm Hannover Re, the third largest reinsurance company in the world, has launched a global startup competition, calling on entrepreneurs to apply for a six-month paid residencies in Johannesburg, Boston, Dublin and Berlin.

Journey Re will see all selected entrepreneurs in the reinsurance space receive a working budget and office space, with finalists to be invited to present in Germany for the chance to win up to EUR50,000 (US$56,000) in prize money.

The kick-off event for the Johannesburg programme, for which Hannover Re has partnered entrepreneurship support organisation AMPION, will take place on March 31 with Michael Jordaan as confirmed speaker.

Journey Re is open to anyone who believes they have the talent to create disruptive innovation for the reinsurance sector, and more specifically young professionals, new graduates and students.

Successful applicants will work in teams of three people in one of the host cities for a six-month period from July. The winning team will receive EUR50,000 in prize money, while the runner-up team will receive EUR20,000 (US$22,000). Participants will also receive attractive benefits and a dedicated working space in the allocated city, while also spending a week in Hannover as an introduction to the competition and the sector.

“As far as we know, this is the first initiative to create a hub for reinsurance innovation on a global scale. It is an impressive opportunity to shape an entire industry. Disruptive innovation is fast changing how a very traditional sector has worked,” said Achim Klennert, chief executive officer (CEO) of Hannover Re.

“We are seeing many new, emerging risk types for which products need to be developed. This, for example, includes risk exposure from cyber, including cybercrime and cyber catastrophe, rapidly spreading viral pandemics, but also the ever growing impact of natural catastrophes in regions where traditional reinsurance capacity is limited or other regions where exposures are not insured or underinsured.”


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Passionate about the vibrant tech startups scene in Africa, Tom can usually be found sniffing out the continent's most exciting new companies and entrepreneurs, funding rounds and any other developments within the growing ecosystem.

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