The contractor Jonathan Boucherof Domely Technologieswon the grand prize of $10,000 in the pitch competition presented at InsurTech Quebecon April 7th.
During his morning presentation before an audience of seven members of the jury, Mr. Boucher recalled that the damage caused to roofs costs billions of dollars (B$) each year to insurers due to the weight of snow, the ice or rain.
In 2020 alone, more than $21 billion would have been paid due to damage to buildings following climatic disasters, according to Mr. Boucher, an actuary by training. The bill for this type of weather-related loss has doubled every five years since the 1980s, he adds.
Spring Alert 2019
In the spring of 2019, all insurers were overwhelmed by claims for collapses caused by the weight of snow. All buildings are equipped with a fire protection system, recalls the contractor. After this disastrous spring, he felt it was time to create a roof monitoring system and improve prevention of this type of damage.
The Domely team is made up of experts in insurance, artificial intelligence and building mechanics. The development was done as part of a master’s project at the university and the product is patent pending.
Its product is used to detect the volume of precipitation accumulated on the roof. The system is mounted on a pillar that just needs to be placed on the roof. There is no need to drill holes to fix it thanks to the weight of the freestanding base. The dome also does not need a WiFi connection or a power supply.
The dome sensors are used to determine the volume of snow. The system sends alerts to the property owner. The 360° vision of the roof is part of the whole. It can also be used to detect breaks in the roof or other parts that can cause water damage.
The physical equipment is rented, while the alert component is offered by monthly subscription. The company wants to offer insurers a detailed risk analysis, which includes the Deep Snow component, which provides strategic monitoring of precipitation predicted by meteorological data.
The insurer can thus suggest preventive snow removal when the situation requires it. “It allows both to limit the damage and gives the insurer the opportunity to interact in a benevolent and preventive manner with its client”, he explains.
The system Domely Connect primarily targets insurers, but also individual and commercial property managers. The labor shortage is an additional selling point, as customers can use their human resources for tasks other than climbing roofs to inspect them.
“On the other side, we are also facing the same shortage of staff, so the challenge is there for us too,” he says. The stock market would allow him to speed up production, as the cost of electronic parts keeps rising due to high demand.
Mr. Boucher also wants to improve the interface between the detection system and the technologies used by both brokers and insurers. He wishes to establish a partnership with a facilitator such as the consulting firm GFT to help him integrate his system on a platform like Guidewire.
At Domely, it is believed that the sensor technology developed by Domely could be installed in all surveillance camera systems.
Jonathan Boucher aims to install 1,000 detection systems within three years. A firm specializing in building inspection is already a partner of the company and takes care of distributing its equipment through its own network, which has about a hundred service points.
Asked about the confidentiality of the data, he points out that his system only sends an alert linked to the address on the facade of the building where the problem is detected. “We retain ownership of the data, which is accessible to insurers and customers, who give their consent. But unless you’re doing shady activities on the roof, there’s nothing confidential about taking an image of the roof,” he explains.
In addition to the 1st prize of $10,000, Mr. Boucher also receives six months of support, worth $1,500, with the LE CAMP business incubator.
Other prizes were awarded as part of the pitch competition. The second prize, worth $2,000, was awarded to Michael Bourquepresident of Cyberdefense.AI. According to this entrepreneur, the current systems are not designed for SMEs.
Cybercrime has become the most significant risk in 2022, he adds. The startup’s system makes it possible to raise the level of security of companies, which reduces the risk for insurers. The technology developed by the company is easily installed in a few minutes.
Mr. Bourque recalls that many Quebec government sites were paralyzed by a computer outage at the end of 2021. Since then, the Ministry of Finance uses its detection and firewall system.
The favorite prize, valued at $1,500, awarded thanks to a vote in which people registered with InsurTech Québec could participate, was awarded to Martin Lavoiepresident ofInsurLoop. The latter also deserves a one-year support through the Mentoring Networkwhose value is estimated at $750.
The platform developed by Mr. Lavoie aims to help personal insurance brokers and independent representatives to offer insurance products without the help of a financial security advisor, while complying with the rules implemented by theFinancial Markets Authority in 2019 on alternative distribution methods.
InsurLoop’s platform allows the consumer to purchase a policy entirely digitally, providing the data required by the financial needs analysis. “We want to democratize the offer in Quebec,” he says.
Mr. Lavoie, who has more than 20 years of experience as a financial advisor and planner, affirms that such a solution accessible to independent firms and independent representatives does not exist elsewhere in the market.
He hopes to commercialize his product by the end of the year, if not in the first quarter of 2023. The platform makes it possible to compare the products of different insurers, but it could also be used by the insurer who has his own sales force. .
Each of the four start-ups that pitched in the pitch competition received a $1,000 participation prize. The fourth participant was Jean Richard Nkounga Zukamvice-president of Truvok, a company based in Cameroon. His promoter made his presentation remotely. The poor quality of communication unfortunately does not have to understand the particularities of its cybercrime insurance product.
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A $10,000 scholarship for an entrepreneur actuary
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