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March 28, 2024 30 mins
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Welcome to Pulse of the Region,brought to you by the Metro Hertford Alliance.
The Metro Hertford Alliance collaborates with investorsand partners to elevate the Hertford region
through economic development work, convening thecommunity and providing chamber support for the City
of Hartner. Learn more about theirmission and how to get involved at Metrohartford
dot com. Pulse of the Regionis produced in partnership with oak Hill.

Oak Hill was originally founded as aschool for the blind in eighteen ninety three.
Oak Hill has provided holistic, personcentered services for individuals with disabilities for
over one hundred and thirty years.With empowerment and independence as its guiding principles.
Oakhill works in partnership with the individualsit serves to provide residential education and

enrichment opportunities. Learn more at oakhillctdot org. Now here's your host for
Pulse of the Region, Kate Bauman. Hello, Hello, and welcome to
Pulse of the Region, the showwhere we highlight all of the incredible things
happening here throughout the Greater Hartford Region. I'm your host Kate Bowman. Here
today in the iHeartMedia Studios here indowntown Hartford, and as you hear us

talk many times on this show,we talk about the Metro heart Ford Alliance
and really the pillars of work thatwe do here for the region. And
really there's three main pillars that wefocus on, and the first one is
to really elevate the Hertford region througheconomic development work. Second, we look
to convene the community around shared opportunities, shared challenges. And three we really

look to provide local chamber support.And today I'm excited, I'm surrounded by
three of my colleagues and we're reallygoing to dive into that first pillar,
that first arm of our work reallyfocusing on economic development. So today we're
going to be diving deep and gettingthe pulse about economic development work the Metro
Heartford Alliance is doing to promote theHartford region as a destination location for companies.

So, as I mentioned, joinedby three of my colleagues from the
Metro Heartford Alliance and our initiative ConnecticutInsurance and Financial Services. So first guest,
I will do the introductions here.Who doesn't need many introductions when we
say metrohart for Alliance, it isour president and CEO David Gregg. So,
David, thrilled to have you backon the show. Thank you again

for having me. Of course,I would say we've got two out of
the last three weeks. I'm lovingit, fantastic. And next is our
Chief Business Investment Officer, Gene Goddard. So Gene, welcome back to the
show. Thanks Kate. Happy tobe here, of course. And last,
but certainly not Lease, I thinkI'm gonna we need to get you
a co host seat here. Ithink Susan, but she is the vice

president and executive director of CTIFS.Susan Winkler. Glad to be here and
love to be here. Thanks Kate, of course, of course. So
first things first, David, ifyou don't mind kind of you know,
at a high level looking at youhear economic development work, What does that
really mean for us as an organization? Sure, so it could mean a

few different things, and I thinkeconomic development is one of those concepts that
depending on who you are, youhave a different view of what it could
be for us as the Alliance.We view economic development in terms of the
Hartford Chamber of Commerce, the workthat the Chamber is doing. When we

created the Heart lift program to bringback a street scene for the city of
Hartford. The work that's being doneon Pratt Street, I think to the
you know, i'd say to thecasual observer, it becomes very, very
obvious what economic development means when youcome downtown and you see Pratt Street almost

fully leased out and with open restaurantsand bars and nightclubs and opportunities for entertainment.
Is certainly one form of economic development. But the other that is probably
more of a traditional view of economicdevelopment, at least to economic development circles,

is around the attraction and retention ofthe companies and industries that we have
here in our region. For Hartfordin particular, and i'll you know,
throw a broader nut, but forthe city in particular, insurance is one

of our key industries. We're greatat a few things here in our region,
manufacturing, healthcare, but when wego out into the world marketplace,
we really are known as the insurancecapital, we like to say, of
the world. London takes exception tothat. We decided that they're the capital

of the globe. We're the capitalof the world. There we go,
all right, okay, I likethis partnership. So it is a an
opportunity for us to take that.And you know, coming out of the
pandemic, we had to look ateconomic development differently than we did going into
the pandemic. Going into the pandemic, there was a huge push for regions

around the US and around the globequite frankly, to compete for business to
try to bring the next expansion intotheir region. For the office market in
particular, I think we all knowit because we're living it, that doesn't
exist as it did before the pandemic. So we had to rethink what we

view as success in economic development,specifically as it relates to the office environment
and quite frankly, the insurance industry. And for that we did and the
work that we're doing now exemplified bythe agreement that was signed between the IFS,

the State of Connecticut, and theUK government around insure techs and our
ability to bring UK based intro techsto our region. And I don't want
to steal Susan or Jean's thunder here, but it is all about the number
of companies. It's no longer aboutthe number of employees or employment that they

initially bring. It is about reseedingour front lawn with as many companies as
we can in the insurance space,because our unemployment rates quite frankly, are
so low that for our ability tocompete for a large expansion of any company

is very difficult. But we knowwe need to get more companies here.
We know we need to put thesedisruptors of the insurance industry in the front
yard of our legacy companies so thatour legacy companies and our the status quite
frankly as the insurance leader in Americaremained strong and uncontested. Great and to

expand there on the insurre tech corridor. Susan, you know, can you
talk about just where does that standtoday? And you know what's been the
activity like over the last two years. Correct. I'd actually love to give
you an example of a real conversationI had today. We have now there's
seventeen companies that have now are partof the assessment process and have become and

declared insured Tech Corridor companies. Ofthat, five have landed in Harford and
saying we are going to start ourUS expansion operations here in this city,
the capital city and the other centerof insurance excellence which we like to claim
all the time as we are theinsurance capital. So here's here's a real
conversation I had today with another company. One are the Insure Tech Corridor companies

that is contemplating. They're twenty twentyfour twenty twenty five plans for US expansion.
They are looking for seasoned sales staff. Now here is the interesting thing
that we can offer the skilled laborthat we have here in the Insuran.
We talked about the employees, andDavid talked about our concentration of employment for
insurance, but we also have theright type of employment here. They're looking

for folks that have years of experience, who have been through a lot of
the changes that have been currently adoptedby the insurance industry. They're looking for
that and we have that. SoI was able to provide this particular startup
a resource for that employment base thatthey need and they're coming over. We

also have a regulator who has nowour chief regulator, our Commissioner, Andrew
Mason is also the president this yearof the nai C. What that means
is that we are leading the nationon insurance regulation. We have the key
person in charge and that is lookedon. Our particular expertise in the two

hundred plus years for its regulation,so to speak, r are really looked
upon widely and regarded highly across theworld. So that being said too,
we're also offered, we're able tooffer that insight, advisory and guidance from
the Department of Insurance. So alot of positives on why companies and startups
and you know, in the insurretech industry and also under other industries really

do look to come here to Hartford, to Connecticut And you know, Gene,
part of this is you know,waving that flag saying the insurance capital
of the world. Is you know, doing that at trade shows kind of
throughout the country additionally to around theglobe as well. And would love if
you could talk about this strategy justkind of first at a high level and
then we'll dive deeper on with someof the activities. Part of our strategy

to attract new companies to come toour region involves telling the Hertford story in
a way that we've never done before. So that includes going to trade shows,
doing social media marketing and advertising,telling the great things that happen in
the Hartford region. So, asSusan mentioned, you know, we have
the brand Insurance Capital World, andwe own the URL. So I tell

my friends in London that you know, they happy to sell the U or
L if they want for one hundredmillion dollars, but right now I think
it'd be sounds like a good paydayfor all that fantastic. So, but
going to major events is where wemeet the companies. So whether it's Insured
Tech Insights in London where we haveto be in market, whether it's going

to major shows in the US andNew York City and Las Vegas where it
may be, we're telling that storyand it's not just the story about property
and casual life or health. Thesecompanies that are coming into our marketplace represent
every nook and creating that you canthink about insurance that you never even thought

of before. One of the companiesthat we met that has said that they're
coming here provides insurance for families usingthat need in virtual fatalization abf amazing technology,
amazing way to finance it. Butthey figured out their mechanism or their

tool to create this much needed insurancefor families out by looking at the agricultural
market with storms really unique way totake an existing funding mechanism and turn it
into something for a family. Oneof the companies we met with, they
make They use satellite data to lookat how Land moves, so as an

insurer or a user, you canunderstand what kind of risks that you have.
Interesting, so very unique companies.None of them are in the same
space. They're all in different areas. And that's a strength about being at
Hartford is because you have this ecosystemof multiple companies here. We're not a

service provider location like Iowa or likeArizona, where you're having people churn and
burn out information or policies. Wehave the idea people here in Hartford.
You have the support people in Harfordthat creates this great opportunity and we're telling
them this story wherever we can.Last fall, one of our marketing campaigns

around one of the events, wehad over six and a half million impressions
in just a six week period.Amazing and I don't think we've ever had
that kind of social media or publicconnection with our community in the past.
Definitely. Well, I certainly wantto touch more on London Gene, but
first David want to talk You werejust recently at an event, the Live

Exchange, and again kind of spotlightingand looking what are the opportunities for Connecticut.
First of all, you could justtell us what this event is.
Sure, so the event is similarto There are a few different versions of
this. Essentially, what it doesis it allows communities from around the US

to have direct access to site selectors. Sites selectors essentially is a type of
company that works with typically larger companiesthat are looking to expand and trying to
identify locations to do that expansion.It's important for us as a community to

keep in front of these site selectorsto let them know of what we want,
what kind of opportunities we have herein our region. Those opportunities could
be a unique building that we havethat is an opportunity for a company that's

looking to expand. It could bea workforce that we have when we have
layoffs and things like that. Youknow, we never want to see a
layoff, but we know they happen. But this is a community that we
then reach out to to say,here are these skilled people that are now
available in our market. It givesus an opportunity to potentially bring in a

new employer and keep those people.Because you know, I say it a
lot and I mean it, andI hope you heard Susan say it as
well. Our success is based onthe people that live here. We are
marketing the skills of everybody that's listeningand not listening. You are part of

our marketing campaign because it's you thatpeople will that companies will come here for.
Right, It's the skills that ourpeople have, and that's what we're
out marketing. Occasionally we have abuilding that's unique that we can get out
into the US marketplace that represents aunique opportunity for us. But it is

at these kinds of events like LiveExchange, where we're able to go and
talk about our community to the peoplewho are directly influencing big location decisions of
companies around the world and for datalovers out there. We do rank number
one in US employment for insurance employmentinsurance jobs, so you know, you

know we're saying it, but thenumbers actually support it. We are number
one in rank for US for insurancejobs. So okay, and actuaries I
know were number one. Actuaries too, They're included in there, and they
also rank by themselves your because Iknow, I know there's another another number
one here. Nice, So Davidwhat would you say, kind of overall

outcomes from from the recent event.You know, it's important for us also
to go to these things so thatwe can understand what's happening in the marketplace
as a whole. Definitely. UhSo, you know, we we all
know that we're experiencing, you know, challenges within our office market. I
sit on a couple of national boards, one for Chambers of Commerce, one

for economic development organizations, so we'reable to bring in a lot of good
ideas from around the country. Butthen, you know, an organization like
live Exchange and the site Selectors givesus the ability to talk directly to end
users to understand where, what they'rethinking and where they believe that the marketplace

will go in the next one tothree years. So it this particular we
go into with our ears wide open. You know the old adage a kad
gave you two ears in one mouthso you could listen more than you speak.

It holds true in an event likethis, and we're really able to
hear what companies are thinking here,what the site selectors are then out trying
to find and then trying to positionour region the best we can so that
we could see those investments happen.Fantastic, fantastic, All right, Ted,
we were going to go back toLondon Insure Tech Insights, a huge

event for really for the entire world. If you could talk just high level,
what is the event itself? Sothis particular event is the largest insured
tech insurance conference in Europe. Roughlythree thousand people attend this event. It's
held right off of London's major financialservices corridor within the city, so it

gives us an opportunity again to meetwith chief executives, founders, corporate execs
within the insured tech space, whetherthey're an early stage startup or whether they're
well passed you know, Series Cfinancing to grow their business. So we
at this particular event, we sponsoreda speaker lounge, which gives us an

opportunity to have face to face conversations. And Susan mentioned earlier that we had
five companies that have announced that they'regoing to be a part of the corridor
that will be putting their operations inHarford. At this event we had another
two and potentially another four that willbe making their operations. To the background
clapping, I don't know if youhave that button here, but wonderful news,

yes, which is very exciting.So having an opportunity to get in
front of the companies, get infront of the venture capitalists that are there,
the private equity folks, get infront of Lloyd's lab which is turning
out early stage companies and that arelooking for the US marketplace to grow their
business to choose Hartford first. Lastyear, we engaged con Resnik to do

a study for US to compare theHartford region versus the other fifteen largest US
financial services and insurance marketplace. Thisevent gives us an opportunity to tell the
story what those results were, andof those fifteen markets on corporate income,
tax and cost of operations for afacility for your lease, Hartford has the

lowest cost and when you look atcost of living as well, the Hartford
region also ranks among the lowest ofthose top fifteen marketplaces for your cost of
living. So it makes it morecost effective for companies that are looking to
hire employees. If they're concerned abouttheir burn rate, which is the amount
of money they spend as they're growingtheir business, Hartford provides that opportunity and

telling that story. In places likeLondon, it's critical last thing that you
know we've talked about. I reallywant to highlight about what we're working as
right now. We have a partnershipwith the Airport Authority to work to bring
a new flight, a direct NonStopflight from Hartford to Heathrow, London's airport

Picklaw again, and it's eased becausewe got Kevin Dilan on a couple of
weeks ago talking even more so aboutthat, which is incredible. So to
tease to listen to that episode thisone. Yeah, So that flight,
if we're able to get established,and our goal is to have it done
either the end by the end oftwenty twenty five or early twenty twenty six,
why we get through the regulatory environment, we'll have a three hundred and

eighty million dollar economic impact on theHartford region. Wow. One, that's
just one flight, and our datashows that we could support two daily nonstops.
So having that kind of impact justfrom a plane landing in Hartford going
back and forth to London is amazingand it really will benefit not only our

insurance and our aerospace community, butour citizens as they're wanting to travel and
go along. We're still going tokeep the work to keep the flight with
direct into Dublin because that's important becauseit gives us a direct access to the
EU marketplace in a post Brexit world. Okay, So a lot of exciting
things happening. Certainly, you knowagain that flag waving strong overseas and also

here too, you know in theUnited States ensues and you know recently there
was also a great presence down inNew York at insure Tech Insights in New
York. And so if you couldtalk a little bit about that event and
really how did Connecticut come out andforce there and let me clarify it's insure
Tech New York. Thank you,insure Tech Insights, New York. We
will have a presence on that.That's their largest USA okay event, and

we a CTIFS and we'll have avery large presence there. So while we
were not there in New York,we had our brand there. This is
where our work is beyond our beyondus. We have stakeholders in the Harvard
community that are all pledging to growin sure Tech. They're pledging to grow

the economy. And we are reallyfortunate to have those stakeholders, some private,
some public, who are waving ourflag for us. So while we
weren't there, our brand was there. And you know, in my opinion,
with economic development is economic and thenit's little psychology going on there too,

and we have that opportunities there.We have wave that flag for the
last I don't know, two threeyears. Would you say really waiting it
with the inter corridor and people noticingand I would you know, we would
be remiss if we didn't call outthe fact that it was through this event
that Susan went to a few yearsago convinced a delegation from the UK that

was at the event in New Yorkand they were headed up to Boston.
Susan convinced them that they needed tomake a stop here in Hertford on their
way and from that being there andtalking to them and getting them to stop
here in Hertford, three of thecompanies that were on that trip decided to

not carry on to Boston, thatthe support that they found here to be
more valuable than and spending time tryingto find the help in Boston, and
then the corridor was born out ofthat work. Again, it goes back
to the need for US as acommunity, as an organization to be out

in the marketplace. We cannot expectin today's world that people will just find
us. We have to go out. We have to find them, We
have to work with them. Wehave to tell them who we are,
what we want, and how wecan support them. And that work is
the work that Susan has been doingfor a couple of years now. And

in our community. We have sucha strong community in Hartford. It's terrific
because you don't have to necessarily bethere, right Gene, but yet our
messaging is there that takes a longtime to get there. In economic development,
that's like the Holy Grail because youdon't even have to be there,
but your message is there. Nowyou have to prove it right, So
when they say okay, tell usmore that we have to bring out the

data and bring out the incentives andbring out the connections. And you know,
we can talk sorry for them aboutthe incentives. And you know,
I want people to understand that incentivescan mean a lot of different things.
Incentives can mean money, but youknow, I don't know that if it
was Einstein that proved that time equalsmoney, but time does equal money.

And we recently had an example ofa company that had applied for their insurance
licensing in New York last April.Last April, they're still waiting that company.
Again, through Susan and Jean's work, we brought them here to Connecticut
in January and they have already receivedall their business licensing that they need to

be able to send sell insurance inthe United States. That that is an
incentive, right and we need notlose sight of that. The work that
this community can do for this industryrecord time is an incentive. Can I
give a shout out then to theDepartment of Insurance because you know, commission

Mas and his team, WY ComissionerCooski and others really rallied. They came
in, they met with a company, they gave guidance, an advisory.
You know, these companies are comingover here. This is a very scary,
scary, daunting market fifty states.And you know, I want to
double down on that again because thereis a private public partnership. We hear

that word, We hear that terma lot private public partnership. What does
it mean, Well, it meanssomething exactly like this, where we have
the public sector and Commissioner Mays andthe Department of Insurance for the State of
Connecticut partnering with Susan and Jan onthe private side to help these companies identify

what they need to do to beable to do their work, to sell
their insurance, to sell their product, whatever it is here in the United
States. And it is because ofthat partnership that we as a state are
able to win. So, youknow, private public partnerships don't always require

like incentives, don't always require moneyto transact. It can be something that
is very tactical that helps a companyget to their end goal quicker and faster
than our competitors can do it,which is hey, why people are coming
here, which is fantastic. AndSusan, what's next on for events?

I know a lot, We've gota couple of minutes left, but if
you could highlight just what else ison tap for the rest of the year,
g did. I headed out toMedicrrians. That is a conference.
It's a little smaller, but it'svery niche based on looking at the aging
population, wealth and health, andin our two key sector's life and health

are there and we will be therespeaking and they're waving our banner into a
very niche market as the population agents. I said, there's a lot of
insurance products built to help this populationpage better in a healthier way, in
a wealthier way. In this particularconference, the insured tech community will be

there supporting that too, as thecarriers. Nice and I think this fall
there's a big event in Las Vegas. It's correct, Jean, you want
to touch on that. So there'swe have a lot of event scheduled for
this spring. Besides the Medicrrians event, we have Insured Tech Insights in New
York in June. We of coursedo the Travelers Championship as a very important

part of our ability to bring companiesinto the Hartford region to showcase that event
and the connections that they can buildwhile they're there. In the fall,
of course there's the Insured Tech connectevent, which is the largest one that's
twelve thousand people. In the past, we've had politicians that have come along
with us. We have a largepresence on the floor and we're kind of

seen as the you know, thewe have a big banner, we're the
largest state presence there and the companieslook us out and then people that are
expats from Hartford and Connecticut always comeup to us and say, hey,
we have our business. We noware located somewhere else. Tell me about
what's going in Connecticut, what's happeningin Hartford, you know, talk about

opportunities for us to bring our businessback. It's all good conversation. It's
fantastic And David to wrap up,we have a minute left, But really
want for the business community, howcan they really help support this work because
you mentioned partnerships and I think sokey there and that really expands out.
So if you could talk just youknow again, how can the business community

get involved? Sure? So Imean it could be something as as simple
as you know these shows that thatGeene and Susan go to. If you're
going to be abt a show,reach out to us, let us know,
let us you know, we're strongerbecause of again the people that exist
here, that live here, inthe companies that we have. And I

think there's an excellent opportunity for usto help our companies achieve their goals of
bringing their service providers closer in.We've seen that with companies like Emphasis,
with Cognizant, CGI and others.You know, we would love to be
able to work with as many ofour companies as possible to talk to them

about who they would like to havecloser, who they'd like to maybe set
up a shop here in Hertford,and what we can do to help them
see those suppliers and potentially even buyerslocate here in Hertford. Perfect and to
get more information. Where can peoplego? I usually have to say it,
but now I have others that cansay it well. I think our

website would probably be the best placeto start. I encourage people to jump
on our websites. We were doingsome work to revamp all of them.
At Metrohartford dot com. The CTIFShas a rebranded, re updated website.
Take a look and see how youcan participate with us. Fantastic, Well,

thank you all so much for theconversation today. It was great.
I'm excited again to see those flagswaving. It's truly fantastic and doing so
much that we're seeing the impact todayand also a long term impact here in
Hartford. So thank you, guys, Thank you, you have a great
day. Thank you, and guys, as David mentioned, for all the
details about today's show and the workthat the metroheart for Alliance is doing,

you can visit Metroheartford dot com.A big thank you to our show partner,
Okhill, and of course thanks toyou for listening. I'm Kate Bauman.
Go out and make today a goodday here in Connecticut.
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