Professional Development

There’s a new professional group dedicated to growing Philly’s insurtech industry

With an Insurtech PHL event slated for next month, startup founder Tom Young is hoping to grow a tech-centered insurance community here.

Tom Young, founder of DataCrest and Insurtech PHL. (Courtesy photo)
Like a lot of industries in the US, the insurance sector has roots in Philadelphia: The first US insurance company, The Philadelphia Contributionship, was cofounded by Ben Franklin here in 1752.

Though the industry isn’t as populated here as life sciences or healthcare, an entrepreneur in the space is looking to grow its prominence. Tom Young, founder of Wayne-based SaaS startup DataCrest, is launching Insurtech PHL. The group will host educational events, networking opportunities and facilitate career opportunities for those in the insurance tech industry.

Young worked for two decades in commercial property and casualty insurance, and ran his own firm for several years. But he experienced some inefficiencies in deal flow that he felt could use a tech lift. His new company, founded three years ago, makes a SaaS platform that helps businesses applying for insurance with the application process. He has a team of about 15.

“A lot of businesses need to complete applications on an annual basis, like worker’s comp, and they’ve been sending them out in PDFs,” Young said. “They have to be completed every year and business owners are having to do that same document year after year from scratch.”

While building an insurance tech startup in the region, Young was looking for a talent pipeline and professional development but came up short. So he and DataCrest bizdev rep Dylan Cellini are launching the first event for the Insurtech PHL group in February.

Cellini came from one of the largest insurance providers in the United State, where technology adoption wasn’t as prioritized and no startup vibe to speak of. He said there are young people looking to break into the industry, especially with higher education institutions in the area like Temple University’s and Penn State’s actuary science programs, and he’s hoping Insurtech PHL helps others see the tech opportunities in the industry.

“That technology scared me a little bit,” Cellini said of moving to the startup world. “The transition is difficult if you don’t look hard enough. It’s an older industry.”

The group will be an “association of sorts,” Young said, with regular meetings, conferences, job boards, peer to peer networking groups and charity outings; they’re working with the Greater Philadelphia Veterans Network for career development. The first event for the group will be a panel next month, on Feb 16 in Bala Cynwyd. Panelists will talk about “expectations versus reality” when dealing with tech transitions and tech adoption in the industry.

The event, although still a few weeks out, has gotten quite a bit of interest, Young said: “I believe it reflects that there’s a void in the space currently.”

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