AmTrust to partner with Israeli tech firms in "insurtech" push

JERUSALEM, Feb 4 (Reuters) - AmTrust Financial Services is looking to boost its presence significantly in Israel in the next year through partnerships and buying stakes in technology firms to tap into the growing need for “insurtech”, company officials said.

AmTrust, a U.S. based global property and casualty insurance firm, began operations in Israel a year and a half ago to look for technology to help it with a range of issues, from accessing claims to underwriting risk.

“We look at Israel as a tech hub of artificial intelligence, deep learning and data,” Yair Smith, vice president of AmTrust’s strategic development, told Reuters on the sidelines of the OurCrowd conference.

He said AmTrust was open to investing in early stage companies and taking minority stakes as strategic partner.

AmTrust said it had already forged partnerships with several Israeli startups --, Verishow and Spark Beyond -- to improve video chat abilities, improve communication and use AI to create business and process recommendations.

Michael Lebor, AmTrust’s chief marketing officer, projected that in a year’s time, the company will likely have “dozens” of partnerships with Israeli firms. (Reporting by Steven Scheer; Editing by Tova Cohen)