North Rhine-Westphalia is Germany’s most important insurance location both in terms of the number of direct insurers based in the city and in terms of the number of employees. Almost one third of Germany’s direct insurance companies are based in Cologne and North Rhine-Westphalia. The largest number of insurance companies – both large and small – are based in Cologne. More than 25,000 employees work for the city’s insurers, making it the central insurance hub in North Rhine-Westphalia.
The city, which is located at the banks of the river Rhine, is also known for its vibrant and dynamic start-up scene. There are currently around 650 start-ups in the city, employing 9,000 employees and generating €1 billion in annual turnover, and there are four €100 million venture capital funds and many private investors, particularly in the InsurTech industry.
Cologne is characterised by its youthful atmosphere, its international flair and its excellent transport and digital infrastructure (broadband coverage of 95%). Many companies from the media, IT, automotive, healthcare, life sciences and gaming industries are also based in the region.
Cologne’s universities, particularly TH Köln which has an institute dedicated to research in the insurance industry (ivw Köln) and Cologne University, which has been designated by the Federal Government as a ‘University of Excellence’ houses an Institute of Insurance Science and an Institute of Information Technology. All of these higher education facilities are pursuing an interdisciplinary and international approach. Cologne has around 100,000 students, many of whom are enrolled in courses relevant for the insurance industry. Some 1,500 students are studying insurance, and more than 2,000 are studying IT.
InsurLab Germany was set up with the goal of creating an operative unit able to develop tailored digital solutions for the German insurance industry by working with national and international start-ups. Insurance companies from all over Germany joined together to establish the association behind InsurLabs Germany – which is based in Cologne but which is involved in activities all over Germany. Among its founding members are AXA, Barmenia, Debeka, General Reinsurance, Gothaer, the Cologne Chamber of Industry and Commerce, LVM Versicherung, Provinzial Rheinland, R+V, TH Köln, the University of Cologne and, as an early Cologne start-up, ED Ensure Digital.
By working with innovative start-up entrepreneurs from Germany and abroad, the Cologne hub is addressing all of the issues relevant for the insurance industry including e-payment, blockchain, Internet of Things, e-health, virtual reality and big data, and thus shaping the future of the insurance industry. The InsurLab will be established in down-town Cologne.
Roland Berger | Head of Media and Internet Economy Department, City of Cologne
Lord Mayor of the City of Cologne
Department of the Lord Mayor of Cologne