Middle Bit: Insurtech leaders will gather in Des Moines next month for InsurTech Week

Insurance and technology leaders will gather in Des Moines next month week for the Global Insurance Accelerator’s (GIA) fifth annual InsurTech Week.

Set to take place Oct. 15-18, the annual the week will provide a venue for those in the insurance industry to address and discuss issues impacting the insurance industry with a focus on technology, policy and innovation.

Educational sessions led by GIA mentors for the featured insurtech teams will place the first day of the event.

Wednesday will start with networking where participants can meet with the featured insurtech companies and mentors. Then, at 2 pm, fifteen featured insurtech companies will share exciting overviews about each of their companies either through a presentation or interview on stage at Mainframe Studios.

InsurTech Week events are free and open to the public. Click here to see the full schedule.

EMBARC awarded Google People’s Choice Award, receives additional $125,000

Ethnic Minorities of Burma Advocacy and Resource Center (EMBARC) received a $125,000 grant from Google on Tuesday morning, bringing its total earnings over the last two weeks to $300,000.

The Des Moines nonprofit , which already received $175,000 on Aug. 23 as part of Google.org’s Impact Challenge Iowa, was named the “People’s Choice” winner after getting more votes from the public than the four other nonprofits to win the award.

EMBARC won for its RefugeRISE program, which trains members of refugee communities to become work-readiness coaches. In turn, these coaches help other refugees find education jobs and social services.  

Iowa physicists win $3.5 million NASA grant

Researchers at the University of Iowa have won a $3.5 million grant from NASA to study electrical currents between the Earth’s magnetosphere and an active, upper layer of its atmosphere that can yield auroras.

The scientists will send two sounding rockets at the same time into different altitudes in the Earth’s ionosphere. The sounding rockets will study the near-Earth environment that is too high for scientific balloons and too low for satellites. Cheaper and faster to develop than large satellite missions, sounding rockets often carry the latest scientific instruments on their flights, allowing for unmatched speed in the turnaround from design to implementation.

Scott Bounds, associate research scientist in the Department of Physics and Astronomy, is the principal investigator on the ACES II project.

The mission is called the Aurora Current and Electrodynamics Structure (ACES) II Sounding Rocket Experiment. The team expects to launch the twin rockets in November or December of 2021 from a space facility in Norway.