Combined Ratio Solutions Co-Founders Michael Jones, Chief Executive Officer and Luke Magnan, Chief Operating Officer spoke with MetroHartford Alliance Content Manager Nan Price about their experience launching an InsurTech startup and the importance of locating their business in Hartford.
NAN PRICE: We all know Hartford is “The Insurance Capital of The World.” As an InsurTech company, was that part of reason to locate in Hartford?
LUKE MAGNAN: We had some time before we needed to have a formal headquarters somewhere. Mike lives in Central Massachusetts and I live outside of Hartford, where I grew up. My first job was downtown at The Hartford. I spent a couple of years of living downtown and then I got my graduate degree at UConn Hartford downtown and I worked for Insurity, which is also in downtown Hartford. So, I had this sense for Hartford and a real desire to set up shop here.
MIKE JONES: When we were deciding where we wanted to locate, we contemplated Boston, Worcester, and Hartford. As the non-Hartford resident, I’ve been impressed with the strong network community here. From a leadership perspective, I was impressed by the accessibility to have our voices Heard. We were able to meet with Mayor Bronin to discuss what our business would look like in Hartford. I don’t think we would have that experience if we went to Boston—and probably not in Worcester either.
LUKE: When Mike and I had the conversation about where to locate, Hartford won. There were two separate trains of thought. One is, like you said, Hartford is “The Insurance Capital of The World.” This is where big insurance companies are and there’s a history of insurance operations starting and being successful here. It’s something Hartford does and there’s a certain cache to being in Hartford. Mike and I spend a lot of time working with the European market and some big London-based insurers. Hartford is very much a big part of the map for them. So, having a Hartford address was significant.
The second thing is there’s also certainly a lot of talent here in Hartford. These big insurers have a lot of employees on both the business and the technology side. That makes it easy to tap into industry expertise.
MIKE: We’re excited about being in the community and in the insurance scene. We see that there’s a renaissance happening in Hartford in the insurance industry. Right now, we’re actively recruiting for some more talent and we’ve been impressed with the types of resumes we’re seeing.
NAN: Where do you see the benefits of becoming involved with the MetroHartford Alliance and the Hartford Chamber of Commerce?
MIKE: It’s given us insight into where to find the networks we should be tied into. Admittedly, we know these networks are accessible. But our involvement with the Alliance and the Hartford Chamber provides opportunities for introductions to people from all types of industries, not just insurance. It’s been a huge help for us to leverage those networks.