About the Leader
Lars Gehrmann is the Chief Digital Officer at Qatar Insurance Group (QIC). His role focuses on leading QIC Digital Venture Partners (DVP), a unit that aims to reshape the digital insurance landscape by building new digital ventures, leveraging existing assets, partnering with Big Tech and corporates, and strategically investing in high potential early-stage startups while transforming the way QIC operates digitally. Lars is a board member of Anoud Technologies, a wholly owned IT services subsidiary of QIC Group. He has twenty years of extensive experience in building and managing digital companies in insurance, financing, leasing, automotive and education. He has a passion for new digital business models, platforms and ecosystem, and is the strategic advisor to several digital startups.
As the digital economy continues to mature and customers grow more tech dependent, “digital” is no longer just the trendy front of a corporation. The move towards digitizing existing industries will only continue to grow. The insurance industry is no different, that’s why long-established companies like QIC are recognizing the need for talent that can come in and drive digital transformation and innovation. That’s the primary role of a Chief Digital Officer (CDO), it’s to combine a digital mindset with existing insurance capabilities that speed up digital transformation. By bringing in teams equipped with skill sets that can innovate towards new digital business models, companies can shift organizational structures, capture new markets and provide better services to their clients and partners while maximizing efficiency gains.
In recent years, the Middle East and North Africa (MENA) region has seen major shifts towards digital insurance by both insurance incumbents and insurtechs, however, compared to other global insurance ecosystems, the region is playing catch up. Although, QIC has been working on digital propositions for the last 10 years, has piloted several product innovations and has one of the highest shares of digital insurance sales in the region, QIC wanted to take the leap into becoming the leading digital insurance company in the region. QIC’s very own QIC Digital Venture Partners (QIC/DVP) is helping to accelerate the ecosystem by building insurtech related ventures, investing in early stage insurtechs and partnering with leading companies that will enter the region. While contributing thought leadership and playing an active part in the MENA Insurtech Association.
In April 2022, QIC, QIC DVP, Google Cloud and Deloitte Digital, together with other partners organized the first MENA Insurtech startup challenge. Inviting startups globally to pitch and compete for the title of best business models and technology. Following active mentoring by internal and external mentors and partners like Prifina, Plug&Play, Qatar Financial Center, Qatar Life & Medical Insurance Company, over 140 participating startups went through several selection rounds until the top 10 were selected. All were given the opportunity to present at the MENA Insurtech Summit in Doha earlier this year. Yielding co-building and investment opportunities for the startups. Additionally, we are proud to have arranged for four of the top ten startups to present their innovations at Insurtech Connect (ITC) 2022, the world’s largest insurtech event that took place in Las Vegas, USA in September 2022.
Capitalizing on the success of the first challenge and seeing the positive outcome for the MENA insurtech ecosystem, we are now working with partners including the MENA Insurtech Association on the 2023 cycle of the challenge for seed-stage companies that are either currently in the region or aim to build here. The winners of the regional competitions will be present at our next insurtech summit in 2023, providing them with an opportunity for exposure to international insurtech conferences, where QIC occupies a place as a go-to digital insurance partner and thought leader.