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April 24, 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 Hartford. 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 Bawman. Hello, Hello, and welcome to
Pulse of the Region, the showwhere we highlight a lot of the great
things that are happening here through outour business community here in the Hertford region.
From innovation collaborations and so much more. I'm your host, Kate Bauman,

and here in the iHeartMedia Studios todayin my favorite building, I'd say
the Candy Cane Building. Maybe it'sjust my favorite name for all the buildings
here in Hartford. But excited fora great conversation today with our guests.
Today we are getting the pulse aboutHertford's insuretech innovation scene and how it's putting
Hertford on the map not only acrossthe country but also globally. A wonderful

conversation today, and we have apower team of women here today, so
really women leading innovation and really helpingto kind of wave the flag for Hertford
the insurance capital of the world.So, without further ado, I would
love to introduce our guests. Firstfrom Nasau. She is their innovation brand
director, Laura Dina and so Laura, welcome to Pulse of the Region.

Hey, thanks Kate, Thanks Susan, thanks for having me. Larisa,
it's always exciting to join you inthese efforts, so you know, excited
to dive right in today. Fantasticand you're wearing the proper hire you have
one of the conference t shirts onI wish I had done something themed.
I blew it. I love agood theme and so when my colleague created
these, it was it was onlyimportant that I wear it today for our
conversation. Okay, good, Soeveryone will have to look at the social

media pictures while you listen in orderto get the full vibe. So next,
but certainly not second, is fromShe's from the Yukon Business the Yukon
School of Business. She's their directorof Global and Experience Experiential Education. Larissa
Burke. Larissa, welcome to theshow. Thank you so much, happy
to be here, glad to haveyou. And your title is a tongue

twister, as you could tell,but I'm excited to learn more about that.
I want a fun title like that. Wait until you hear the names
of our programs, also tongue twister. I'm glad you'll be saying them and
not me. To me, sofantastic. And last joining the show is
I would say we're I should probablyjust be co hosts at this point,
but it is my colleague, SusanWinkler. She is our vice resident and

executive director of the Connecticut Insurance andFinancial Services Cluster, also known as CTIFS.
SO Susan, welcome back to theshow. Always great to be here.
Kate, thank you well. Welove having you. So first things
first, why don't we'll do someintroductions and I think or maybe reminders,
because I think NASA and Yukon certainlytwo big brands here in Hartford. But

Laura, if you don't mind givingkind of just a reminder about NASAU and
really your footprint here in the cityof Hartford. Yeah, absolutely, So
for those of you who are familiarwith the city of Hartford, we are
the two sided boat building located onthe Beautiful Constitution Plaza formerly known as the
Phoenix. So that is definitely I'msure perking up some ears. But we
at NASA we have a large footprintin the city of Hartford, and for

those of you who know Hartford,it may be small, but is certainly
mighty. So we've made our namewithin the annuities space, medsub space,
but also the innovation space, andthat's really the focus of today's conversation.
So back in twenty nineteen, mycolleague Paul Tyler's started what we call NASAU
Reimagine, which is an insured techand retire tech incubator located withinside of our
building and what's grown from a conversationand getting startups, global startups around the

table here in Hartford has really growninto so much more so. It's about
connection, it's about community, it'sabout education, aligning people and goals where
they fit and making sure that wecan do our part in the success of
others. Fantastic love to hear moreabout that. Certainly. I think the
work that you're doing here is soimpactful in a positive way in our community.
So fantastic intro and next, Laurisa. Certainly many people know, especially

after the two time national champions.I have to throw it in every time
I mentioned Yukon in any context.Is certainly people familiar with Yukon, but
would love if you could give alittle bit more of an overview because I'm
not sure as many are familiar orit's great for a refresher about the Yukon
School of Business if you could talka little bit about that school. Absolutely

so everyone yes, and you saidnay of Yukon famous for our basketball teams,
where the state flagship university and it'sheier one Research university at the grad
School of Business. We have ahistory of leading the way in education.
So, for example, the threeprograms I work specifically with our Financial and
Enterprise Risk Management program, our Businessanalytics and Project management program, they were

first movers to a large degree,and more recently with our new Fintech program.
All of these programs were built withindustry input from a board of advisors
and really built to fill a skillsgap that was being recognized in industry.
So, for example, the FinancialRisk Management program I'm just going to say

FRM from here on out, wasbuilt established in twenty ten, directly after
the financial collapse nine and it's stillone of the only FRM programs out there.
Business Analytics program is the only onethat I know of that ads project
management in which really benefiting our studentsin the market. So we really aim

to continue that tradition of being aleader in education as technology and talent need
to continue to involve. And myrole specifically within that is as a director
of Global and Experiential Education, isto just bridge the gap between academia and
industry. Okay, love it,love it, and kind of on the
industry side, Susan is a quickreminder about ctifs, but really you can

highlight to the work that's being donein that insurance, insuran, tech and
innovation kind of sector. I mean, we are a business body of twenty
five senior executives representing insurance industry,life, property, casualty, and health.
We have some tech companies that sitaround the board and as well as
some service providers and financial services companies. So our mission, I don't want

to repeat this over and over again, but I'm happy to do so,
is you know, we call usquarterly to strengthen the industry in innovation,
insure tech or one of those thoseinitiatives, programs, strategies that we looked
at five years ago and said,Okay, how are we going to double
down on this? We know weneed it. Our partners at UCON,

you know, we helped forge someof those academic programs with industry input.
We work with our private partners suchas Nasau Financial and others to bring innovation
to the community and we've been doingthat for twenty years. Fantastic. So
kind of would love Laura and Larisand oppose the same question that each of
you. You've both kind of startedto tee up, but really the work

that you and your organizations are doinghere in the Hartford community. So if
you kind of describe I guess alittle bit a day, a day in
the life, you know, becausecertainly there's I think what we may know
your organizations for as, but reallythe work you're doing is very different and
very unique to kind of the overallI guess you'd say brand of the company.
So I know, Laura, ifyou want, I'll start with you
on that and then Lauris will haveto toss that over to you. Right,

So a day in the life ofis you know, it varies from
day to day obviously, but Iwould say, you know, we just
came back from a very successful conferencein Las Vegas. Retire Tech is something
that we've been focusing on a lotover the last three years, so it
was exciting to have over sixty speakerscome together to really share their thoughts on
where the future of retirement is headed, both from a technical standpoint, from

a human standpoint, the connectivity AI, etc. So really it's a combination,
and a lot of what we dois partnering people with products, but
at the end of the day,it's really how do you join these things
together? How do you join thetechnicalities the realities of today with the future
of tomorrow at such a speed whereyou know, I heard a great quote.
You know, things are evolving fastertoday than they've ever been, but

it's the slowest it will ever be. So when you think about it,
it's like, oh, sugar,things seem really really fast. So how
do we adapt to them, howdo we acknowledge them? How do we
educate ourselves around them? And alot of that is through the community and
the partnerships that we're building. SoI'll actually take this time to call out
a program that we're partnering with Larissaand her colleagues on over at yukon something

we've called Talent Bridge. We're inour second year there, and it's a
combination of insure techs plus students pluscommunity around so community being the insurers in
a lot of cases, and pairingthose three groups of individuals together to give
mentorship opportunities, to give internship opportunities, and to really get a greater understanding
of what is going on in theinsure tech and the retire tech space,

how we can bring those solutions toHartford or into the globe in some cases,
and how can we do it ina way that's going to build up
students, their opportunity to be handson for the startups, to really engage
with the talent that he's here withinConnecticut at our flagship university, and how
can we pair it all together tobring forward the purpose and what we're working
towards at NASAU. So we havea lot of really great options and opportunities

in the area. Yukon is oneof our favorite partners. I think it's
safe to say that in the workthat we're accomplishing together. But it's something
that we're very proud of, isnot only bringing NASA forward, but to
see who else we can bring forwardwith us. That's wonderful. And Larissa,
if you don't mind, I'll putmy last question to you on the
day. What's the day in thelife look like? I'll put that on
pause for one moment if you don'tmind kind of chiming in a little bit

about the partnership with NASA. Yes, and I also want to a second.
I mean Nasai, Laura specifically inPaul are some of our favorite partners
as well. They've just been phenomenal. She explained it beautifully. The only
thing I would add is one ofthe things that we're doing is tying the

internships that NASA is sourcing through theirportfolio startups with a course on the fundamentals
of insurance. So I work withthese STEM designated programs, so they've got
these quant skills that are really neededin the industry, and we're just making
sure that they really understand insurance aswell and then hitting the market so they

can be most helpful to NASAI andthe startups. Okay, and if I
don't if you don't mind bringing inreally full circle, Laura, Larissa,
is that we have the UK inshirt Tech Corridor. These companies and other
startups are coming into the market makinga commitment to Hartford in this region because
of the amount of innovation, theamount of insured tech, the amount of

commitment from private industry, public industry, and our insured techs are taking advantage
of Talent Bridge twenty four the talentso when they come here and they're like,
Okay, we need X, we'reable to satisfy that with our partnership.
Okay, no, thank you Susanfor chiming in on that. And
is that really something you see,Susan as you're attending conferences like retire Tech

and others that that's one of kindof the selling points for for Hertford for
Connecticut is really that talent piece.I think, so that is the key.
Well, there's two things. Imean, we also have the highest
concentration of insurance employment in the country. Hence insurance capital of the world of
the US at least, is veryvery intriguing to insured texts as they look

at where they're going to place theirbusiness. They need the customers number one.
Number two, they want a betterrelationship with the insurance community. Secondly,
so talent, So first the insurerstalent is second. Thirdly, you
also have a reg regulator here inConnecticut. That's very appealing as our relationship
with the Department of Insurance is strongand we're able to tap that as a

resource for our insured techs to lookat from an advisory standpoint and insight and
guide them on their journey of thefifty state regulatory system that we have here
in the US. Okay, fantastic, and Larisa back to you. I
will go back to that question,I promise you I would. But is
really you know, as you're lookingat talent here and again, how kind
of Yukon is approaching this really new? I think It's so innovative to me,

and I've been very excited to bekind of on the sidelines watching,
you know, really how everything isevolved over the last several years. So
Larisa, I would love if youcould talk a little bit about the day
to day and really what students andwhat even kind of staff that you kind
of are experiencing, you know,really kind of in the work that you're
focused on. Absolutely, so likewiseto what Laura was saying, there's not

really a typical day. I've beenspending this week really strategizing how to add
in those leadership skills. I wasat the conference in George at Hartford and
someone mentioned for you know, stopcalling them solve skills, called them essential
skills. I like that, andso to that end, we had a

series with Enturity where we've brought theirentire cy suite on campus or met with
them virtually throughout the semester to reallygive different perspectives on leadership and just people
who act differently, have different personalitytypes. Some are introverted, some are
extroverted, and really show them howour STEM students can be leaders in their

respective fields. So strategizing kind ofnew and innovative ideas around that and other
applied leadership opportunities. And this reallyjust kind of helps build out our stem
talent by blinds ensuring that our quantstudents have these skills like how to communicate
effectively, how to lead, thatwhat they learned during their time at Yukon
isn't just going to be beneficial fortheir first like five ten years post graduation.

We really wanted to serve them deepinto their career. But next week,
for example, we're hosting e nS. It's a Brazilian educational company
that takes insurance executives abroad and introducesthem to other insurance ecosystems. So we're
really we're really proud about this one. It's their first trip to the United

States and they're coming to Hartford,right, So we're thrilled because I think
we're all involved, right, Larissatapped all of us to be part of
that, all of it, becauseit's so important that they're introduced to the
ecosystem that's here and that CCIFF andthat's your Hartford Alliance are such a massive

part of that. They're going tobe doing company visits, they're going to
be meeting with the Brazilian Consulate andat the end of this a week long
trip, we just want them tobe able to understand obviously the ecosystem here,
the regulatory system here, as Susanalluded to, UH, and the
benefits of living and working in Hartford. So it's just very unique. Every

week could be different, yes,which sounds fun, and that's our kind
of again to a lot of events. And I think going back to that
whole partnership is, you know,many times there's different organizations, the three
of our organizations, but then othersto participating to really spotlight what's happening here
and Susan want to touch you know. It was great, Laura, you
hit on kind of retire Tech anda lot of the details about that event,

but also another conference recently, soI don't know if you want to
highlight a little bit about that.Well, we were really thrilled to participate
in order to ask ask to beparticipated in retire Tech, So thank you
again Lauren and Paul company. There. The other large event that just happened
concurrently was the Hartford Insure Tech Symposium, and this is led by Stacy Brown,

who originated the idea about five yearsago. And this is a way
that Hartford the region is put onthe map global map for insured tech.
So we're there to support that effort. You're you have you know everything.
Insurance touches everything as you know,every uh personal part of our own business,

part of our lives. And whetherit is the protection of assets or
whether it's to promote and sustain thoseassets and provide a better life, a
better customer experience, uh, youknow, protections against cyber flood, anything
you can think of global risks,insurance is there. So the industry is
adopted insure tech about five years ago, uh as a way to fill that

gap, and the insurance look towardsthese insured tech companies to offer their their
solutions for those particular issues. AsI said, there even driving a great
customer experience. So it's you know, the positive side or hey, how
are you going to protect me betterwith the risks that are out there today
in today's world? Fantastic? AndLaura, can you talk a little bit

about Nasau's involvement in insurantek Hartford.Yeah, so, you know, we
love to get out there, welove to meet people, see old friends,
NASA, you know, Paul Tylermyself, Jackie Baman or Chief People
Officer were all there sharing the stageat one point or the other. So
whether it was moderating panel discussions aboutthe backstage truth of adventure tech startups,

which was a lot of fun allthe way to potentially, you know,
being on stage to accept an awardthat night. So it was a lot
of memory making, it was alot of idea sharing, It was a
lot of information that you just can'tget through a screen. And the importance
of that connection. I keep goingback to it, where it is the
people being in person, being ableto connect with one another's It's very helpful

and it's very important, I think, in the work that we're doing because
in many cases, when we're movingquickly or we're treading in waters that maybe
not everyone's comfortable swimming in yet,it's good to know that you have a
support system there and people who arewilling to jump in with you. Definitely,
And Laurisa, can you talk alittle bit about Yukon's presence at insurre
Tech Hartford. Absolutely, so,we've had a relationship with Insurrechech Hartford for

a few years now. As Imentioned upfront, all of our stem programs.
We're really built with this kind ofpractical filling a skills gap nature in
mind, and so one of ourstrategies was this conference strategy where it's essentially
fish where the fish are. Soyeah, So the academic director for Fintech,

John Wilson, has been going tothese conferences before the program was either
launched, and we started bringing studentswhen I started my role last year and
that's expanded, so we're seeing interestincrease. I think we did only seven
students sign up to attend last year. We got thirty plus a wait list
this year, so that's been greatto see. I think our conference strategy

and the conferences we're selecting are reallyaligning. And you'll hear I think you've
been hearing this wall Susan and LawyerI'll speak as well with what CTISS,
what Metropart, durn Alliance are reallydriving towards and like in terms of creating
a cohesive ecosystem that attracts companies andtalent to this area. So my role

was kind of preparing the students forbeing there for the day, and then
we expanded our involvement with IHS topost a pre conference event this year.
Cyber Defense Connect. It counted forfive CEUs accredited by Big ICT and that
yeah, yeah, it was alot of fun. There was a full
cyber attack simulation. So industry folksand students learning from leaders in cyber defense

field. So we're just you know, continually trying to find innovative ways to
you know, help help upskill andalso benefit our students. That's and what's
the feedback from from students. It'sbeen very positive. I can't imagine it's
not. I mean talk about areal life scenario and at a fun event,

I mean talk about a way toget into making insurance in that industry
a lot sexier than maybe we oncethought it was. Right, that's a
goal. That's a goal. Ilike my job. That's really Yeah.
In the small front there I go. So and with that too, is
Susan. I want to go back, you know, kind of touching on
the insure tech corridor and the companiesthat are coming here. I know,

you know, if you could highlightjust who has committed to Hartford. I
know we have a couple recent commits, which would be great at least kind
of high level just really what isthe you know, what are you seeing
and you know what is what doyou think is kind of next within that
with that pipeline. Yes, weat the Insurance Tech Quarter now is two
years in running. We have seventeencompanies that have committed to the Introtech Quarter.

I have been through an application processand have been applied and approved.
Four companies came to the Intro toComfort symposium. We're really thrilled with that.
One actually announced with the press releasethat they joined the Quarter, so
they had some big fanfare as theymade their trip to Hartford and said,
hey, we're coming to this imposium, but we're also going to announce our

participation in the quarter going forward.So what we're seeing in the Quarter,
first of all, is an incrediblegrowth of companies wanting to participate. So
the application process is just growing asexponentially. We're gaining global recognition as a
insurance center of excellent. It's verysimilar to London and the UK Hartford,

Connecticut. We are now sisters andreally pushing the insured tech envelope back and
forth. What I see though,is a trend working with Laura going through
a retire tech health tech. Ithink there's a we've we've always had very
it's been centered a little on propertycasualty solutions and technologies, and I see
that a little bit more of atrend going towards retire tech and health and

wellness, would you agree, Laura, Yeah, absolutely. And when insured
tech first hit the scene, rightand it became familiar to many people,
it was a lot and within thatP and C space, okay, but
not everyone operates within the P andC space. So it's we're doing our
best to get the you know,the flashlights and the lights shown and the
folks who are doing the work outsideof that area. And not to say
anything negative around P and C,that's some of the best things we've seen

so far. But it's important aswe look to the tech side of things
in a more holistic approach to includethe insured, you know, not only
just insure tech, but the retiretech, fintech, et cetera. That's
great and certainly training kind of theworkforce within this industries. And you know,
Larissa would love for you to chimein here because I know there's kind
of specific initiatives that Yukon is doing, especially in kind of some of your

specialized master's programs. If you couldhighlight a little bit about that and kind
of talk about how are they reallytargeting that fintech and then also the insure
tech but kind of all aspects ofunder the insure tech umbrella. Yeah,
So, as I mentioned you guys, one of the first universities to offer
a formalized prate degree in fintech,and it was developed with like an acute

awareness that fintech is more than justcrypto and blockchain, so it folded in
insure tech from the very beginning.We're developing an implementing curriculum that's designed to
address these talent needs. So,for example, we've developed a Fundamentals of
Insurance course that focuses on insurance andrisk management, were developing and emerging tech

and insurance of course that focus ofthat tech aspect. And then we're resurrecting
an insure chech Venturing course that focuseson entrepreneurship. And all three of those
courses speed into the partnership that Lauramentioned with with NASARI. So that's yeah,
that's one way. We are chairingthe Fintech Academic Council for the National

Fintech Organization. And I think lastly, it just really all of these insurance
immersion initiatives that we're doing, likebringing our students to relevant conferences, partnering
with the conferences. These are allinnovations that we haven't yet seen be replicated
by other institutions. Okay, No, it seems like you kind of is

really leading the charge there. AndI don't know if there's anything that you
know, Laura or Susan you wantto add in to that. They're both
each other. Lord, I couldjust talk forever on the st but Laurisa,
you spawned some great ideas. SoLaura and I were kind of looking
at each other telepathically and I'm happy, Yeah, thank Lorissa. I think

it's important too, right as wetalk about the larger community and the work
that all of us are doing.You know, in sure Tech Hartford with
Stacy Brown Yukon Larissa and her team, and we have University of Hartford.
We they have, you know,a focus in risk management insurance and I've
had the pleasure to not only graduatefrom there but also still be involved.
And it's amazing to see what theinstitutions in the area, SEC su et

cetera are doing to really kind ofbolster what they're offering to students. And
I think it's also interesting to notethat a lot of the work is for
the upcoming group of individuals who arejoining you know, full time employment,
but also those within the existing companiesas well. Right so now, so
we're doing a lot to educate ouremployees specifically around AI. For example,
we have a few initiatives that we'reworking on internally, and that starts with

education and making sure that people understandwhat does it mean, how can we
use it, what are the risks. So a lot of what you know,
Larisa's event had covered, but ata real level with people who may
have been in their careers for fouror five decades, but it's still important
to them to understand, you know, why it's important, and you know
what it can do in the future. And you know, i'd be remiss
in not mentioning, you know,as I mentioned AI here, the whole

fear of what tomorrow brings, andjust reminding folks that you know, it's
not AI that will be replacing oureducation system or our people in the workplace,
it's people who know how to useit. So I think it's a
very very very good point. Yeah, So I think it's interesting to take
that angle to when we talk aboutthe education as well, and AI was
everywhere, right Laura Laris's. Imean every conference that we've been to so

far, it has been a subjectmatter part of keynote presentations. So and
I would say overall, the industryis standing steadfast and ready. As Laura
indicated that there's not there's not abacking away or fear of it. As
a matter of fact, they're looking, Okay, how could utilize IS to
be a better industry? Definitely,I just want to add in on this,

you know, with regards to kindof making insurance sexy and intertech sexy,
why don't we take our students tothese conferences or like take them on
company visits. Tanasaari and other companieslike kat Gemini, they and they're talking
about AI, and there they getto actually see how all of these technologies
that they're learning about in class arelike deployed in the real world. Then

that's like it makes it a lotmore exciting for them, right They no
longer think of, oh, thisinsurance company only doing kind of what they
would maybe typically think of as boring. So they should be kind of brought
into the fold and shown the ecosystemsthat they can see all the exciting things
that are going on. Definitely,no very good point there, Larsa.

And if companies are interested to lookingto get more involved with the work that
Yukon's doing, or if they're studentsinterested in getting involved, where's a great
place for p able to get moreinformation? Brad dot business dot Yukon dot
b du. I'd say that onemore time, Brad dot business dot Yukon
dot edu. Perfect grad. That'swhy I didn't get the first part.

So g r A D love it. And for everything that's happening over at
nasaal or where's best to get moreinformation? Yeah? Sure, So we're
very active on our social media channelsthat would also check out NFG dot com,
slash imagine, and I'll also inviteyou in the next few weeks here
we're gonna go live with our HartfordInnovationweek website. So that is another culmination

of many corporate and private, youknow, entrepreneurial partners within the area putting
on a week full of education opportunitiesto connect with the ecosystem in many ways,
not just with an insuretech. SoI invite you again Hartford Innovationweek dot
com. You can reach out tome directly as well if you have interested
in that at l Dinanhaber at NFGdot com. Perfect and part of that

Innovationweek will be the Insurance Capital Summit, which Susan if you you want to
tee that up a little, justthe date save the Dptember tenth, so
right in the week of September ninth. We're happy to partner inside of Innovation
Week and the Insurance Couplittle SUMP.This year will have a different look.
It will be a co joined effortwith the Department of Insurance Commissioner Mace and

his team with the ctifs and theMetro Harvard teams putting forward a thematic day
on climate fantastic. Yeah, it'sgoing to be a great thing. So
Innovation Week, put it on yourcalendars. And thank you so much,
ladies the power team here today.I'm loving it, so thank you so
much for all of your contributions,and really, you know, to Nasau
to Yukon, thank you so muchkind of for the collaborations and the commitments

you guys are making back to ourcommunity because it certainly is making Hartford and
our region a great place to be, all right, thank you, Thanks,
of course, for all the detailsabout today's show, you can visit
pulseoftheregion dot com. We'd like togive a big thank you as always to
our show partner okel and thanks toyou for listening. I'm Kate Bauman.

Go out and make today a goodday here in Connecticut.
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