In 2014, Hartford Steam Boiler (HSB) saw technology emerging that presented a significant opportunity for its highly innovative, specialty insurance and engineering-driven inspection business. Envisioning the next evolution of its business model, HSB set up a corporate ventures arm that was strategically aligned with its long-term objectives of protecting its core equipment-breakdown business with new risk mitigating data and technologies and accelerating product innovation in new markets with emergent insurance and service gaps.
With $50 million and an initial focus on the Internet of Things (IoT), HSB’s strategic corporate ventures group made its first investments in 2015. Over the following years, HSB built a portfolio of IoT investments leading to two acquisitions and made selective investments in new strategic areas of the HSB business – home insurance and cybersecurity.
It wasn’t long before HSB’s ventures group was asked to expand its capabilities to the Munich Re Group and make investments for the broader reinsurance business, initiating a period of scale and scope expansion in tandem with Munich Re Group’s global innovation vision. With ERGO also tapping the ventures group in 2018, the expansion was complete. The group was renamed Munich Re Ventures and launched a new structure and platform including funds for Munich Re, ERGO and HSB.