Attendees of InsurTech North will be able to view a unique pitch competition among startups, in which five leading startup incubators and accelerators nominate a startup from their program to be a contender in the InsurTech North Wolf Pack competition.

The Wolf Pack, composed of insurance and innovation professionals serving as judges (including me), will hear the pitches from the stage, ask questions and vote on the results, picking a winner.

For a preview of the innovative entrepreneurs who will be vying for recognition at this year’s event, read on:

Finaeo – Finaeo wants to be the “digital fabric” that connects and powers the life insurance market globally, enabling policyholders, agents and carriers to more seamlessly interact by blending the best of human expertise and advice with the convenience and efficiency of modern digital tools.

finaeo-logoA key goal of Finaeo is to leverage a broad array of technology to empower, not replace, the agents and financial advisors who sell life insurance, viewing it as a product for which many consumers still desire the relationship and expertise of a human advisor.

“Technology is built to do redundant tasks with perfection, over and over again. Things like compliance, which is a perfect example

of where technology should be used to prevent humans from doing mundane work. But where it shouldn’t be used, in my opinion, is making an ultimate decision on why someone should buy something, because the computer won’t have all the context,” says Aly Dhalla, co-founder and CEO of Toronto-based Finaeo. “We call this the bionic advisor, bringing together the powers of technology but the empathy and intelligence of a human.”

Finaeo is structured as an MGA and is connected to and licensed by all the major life carriers in Canada, allowing it to offer agents/advisors a digital marketplace that provides real time quoting and binding, along with other services like compliance, recordkeeping, policy documents and even a digital financial needs assessment that advisers can white label.

Founded in 2016, the company is expanding its capabilities in Canada and plans to next expand in the U.S. market and eventually extend its reach globally.

Finaeo was nominated by the Toronto-based MaRS innovation hub.

Micruity – Micruity works with life insurers to provide employers and retirement plan administrators with a pension-like product without the funding obligations and administrative hassles that have caused employers to shed traditional defined benefit pensions.

micruity-logoMicruity does this by working with multiple life insurers and asset managers to provide annuities to a plan administrator seeking to transition participants to more of a target-date fund in a retirement savings plan. Micruity serves as a clearinghouse for annuity transactions between the plan and insurers, using software to manage manual processes including automating and standardizing the execution of group contracts, management of data, settlement of assets and coordination with recordkeeping.

Targeting registered defined contribution plans in Canada and 401(k) retirement savings plans in United States, Micruity aims to be a better default option for employers to place employees who don’t make a selection when joining a savings plan. The Micruity solution minimizes the investment risks for employe

es who may not be actively managing or are ill-equipped to manage their retirement savings.

“When somebody is enrolled in a plan and doesn’t make a selection, we want to be that default option. Ideally, a fund that de-risks you as you approach retirement so that you are not sitting on 100% equities and the market crashes when you are 64 years old,” says Trevor Gary, founder and CEO of Toronto-based Micruity.

Micruity was nominated by Global Insurance Accelerator, based in Des Moines, Iowa. – This Vancouver-based fintech startup is focused on helping financial institutions and insurers to capture and analyze data to better know their customers in an increasingly owl-logodigital environment.

The solution offers 3 core products: automated onboarding, which aggregates public and private data to provide a better view of customer in the application process, simplifying sales, conversions and customer service; tools to manage compliance with KYC (know your customer) and AML (anti-money laundering) regulations; and fraud detection capabilities. leverages multiple technologies, including A.I., machine learning, natural language processing and image processing to analyze data and personalize the customer experience.

“We identified a major pain point in the marketplace. If you think about banking or insurance in the ’50s, the branch manager knew the person who would walk into the bank or insurer. They knew their family, their lifestyle, the products were simple. And then banks started to move into credit-based economies, offering more complex products. Globalization and digitization added more complexity…regulation got tighter, and along the way they got farther and farther away from their consumer,” says Vahid Mirjalili, COO and co-founder of “Now you interact with the bank typically through a laptop, and they don’t know much about you. Owl’s mission is to bring back that customer knowledge to banks and insurers so they can sell to a customer faster and better.”

And to ensure privacy and security of information, it operates in a zero-knowledge platform, so that information is encrypted and only available to the intended party in a transaction. was launched in 2018 and already has gained customers in banking and insurance. was nominated by the Montreal-based Holt Fintech Accelerator.

Sitata – Sitata aims to reduce travel-related risks with a comprehensive platform to provide travelers with information on potential issues and disruptions, medical assistance when on sitata-logothe road and on-demand trip insurance.

Delivered via a mobile app, Sitata technology monitors itineraries to provide alerts on hazards, safety issues and delays worldwide. The company also is capturing data that can help on-demand travel insurers to improve underwriting and pricing and prevent fraud.

Sitata offers a white label version of its services to travel insurers and credit card providers. It also sells to corporate travel departments that want to monitor employee travel safety and give employees tools for worry-free travel. Sitata is also targeting travel insurers that want to improve customer engagement and retention by providing additional value.

Sitata offers 3 tiers of service: an alert service that includes such elements as flight delays and cancellations and hazards like health alerts, protests, weather or other local disruptions; a telemedicine service, to connect with a doctor remotely while traveling; and assistance services, such as lost luggage and trip insurance.

“If you are bringing to the table something that is used by travelers every day—similar to how life insurers are getting into the FitBits and that sort of thing—insurers can provide an ongoing service and add more value so that customers come back to you. Travel insurance, in particular, has horrible retention rates…so part of our proposition for insurers is now you are able to provide a useful ongoing service that goes beyond simply paying for lost luggage,” says Adam St. John, CEO and Founder of the Kitchener, Ontario, company. “There is the added benefit that with the right education we can help travelers avoid some claims.”

Sitata was nominated by Kitchener-based innovation hub Communitech.


Verto – Verto is a digital health care company that is focused on enabling truly integrated care by improving the coordination of patient data.

verto-logoSo much data is trapped within the health care system, and might not be readily available when needed throughout the continuum of care, such as when needed by a hospital, specialists, labs, family members, long-term care facilities or others. This can cause delays, added costs as well as diminished outcomes when patients transition from inpatient to outpatient or long-term care.

Verto leverages HL7 FHIR, an international standard for formatting and exchanging electronic health care data. Verto’s technology uses this to encapsulate each piece of clinical information, such as a medication or lab report, apply the relevant privacy rules of each jurisdiction, and then apply a dynamic consent system so that patient can allow access to specific information as the need arises via SMS or email.

“Let’s say a new doctor no one knew about needs access to this information to provide, let’s say, post-surgery care, then the patient would get an alert asking ‘can this doctor access this?’ they say yes, and now the hospital doesn’t have to worry about liability because they aren’t releasing the information, the patient is authorizing access,” says Michael Millaar, CEO and Founder of Verto. “Our communication can also support delegated responsibility for authorization” to designated caregivers, he added, such as when a family member is not conscious, or is suffering from Alzheimer’s or other situations where they are unable to provide consent.

The company’s solution is in place at several regional hospitals in Canada and it is pursuing adoption by HMOs and academic medical centers in the U.S. market.

Verto was nominated by Toronto-based startup incubator oneeleven.

InsurTech North runs from May 23-24, 2019 in Toronto. To learn more or to register, visit and use discount code ‘ITLten’ to receive a 10% discount off registration fees.

As one of the WolfPack judges for 2019, I hope to see you there!

Paul Winston
Insurance Thought Leadership

Original article:


Leave a Reply



  • This field is for validation purposes and should be left unchanged.