February 13, 2018

Alexa, does my insurance cover this? Hackathon winners' product taps digital assistant

Four aspiring entrepreneurs with a product that uses the Alexa digital assistant to answer consumers' questions about their health insurance policy emerged from eight teams to win a digital health hackathon over the weekend in Hartford and a $5,000 cash prize sponsored by Cigna.

The winning team, InsurGuru, includes Jacques Caspi, Rajasekar Narayanan, Corey Harris Jr. and Craig Mitchell.

The Alexa-driven product allows a consumer to load their health insurance policy, then ask any question about what's covered, how much a procedure will cost, and proximity to in- and out-of-network doctors and clinics and their respective charges, according to a recap from Upward Hartford and InsurTech Hartford which conducted the hackathon Feb. 9-11 at Upward Hartford.

InsurGuru members demonstrated their technology during the weekend, including pitching their business model and projections. The live demo included asking Alexa different questions about their policy and receiving "great answers," according to Upward Harford and InurTech Hartford.

Judges evaluated teams based on product disruption and vision, business plan viability, market benefit, presentation and pitch, fundability and teamwork. InsurGuru's plan is to sell its product to the health insurance companies, which would give it to each customer, and judges agreed insurers would be interested, according to the recap.

The weekend-long startup marathon featured top regional developers, designers, coaches, entrepreneurs, mentors, and judges. Participating teams competed to create innovative prototypes that demonstrated coding and design skills for developing digital health applications. The teams' goal was to start with an idea on Friday night and leave Sunday evening with a startup company and new network contacts.

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