Two new insurance companies are joining the eight insurers already invested in the Global Insurance Accelerator (GIA) program.

EMC Insurance Companies (EMC) of Des Moines, Iowa, and Markel Corporation (Markel) of Richmond, Va., have confirmed annual investments in the GIA, which help fund a seed investment in insurance technology (insurtech) startups accepted into the GIA program going forward.

As investors, EMC and Markel also commit staff and company expertise to help mentor startups through the critical early stages of business growth, potential launch situations, recruiting and onboarding initial customers, and seeking additional funding.

Originally modeled after other horizontal technology accelerators which provide seed funding and business assistance to startups in exchange for equity, the GIA is focused solely on the insurance industry.

Now in its third year, the GIA is backed by insurance company investors from across the US, but is based in Des Moines, Iowa, which is home to more than 80 insurance companies and tens of thousands of insurance professionals. More than 200 insurance companies are based in the state of Iowa overall.

The insurtech startups selected to participate in the GIA’s annual “cohort” are invited to Des Moines for a 100-day program, which provides hands-on business support, education and assessment from program mentors, and exposure to insurance company professionals, industry influencers and potential additional investors as well.

The program culminates each year in April by providing startups the opportunity to pitch live onstage at the Global Insurance Symposium.

The GIA investors, now including EMC and Markel, not only have an opportunity to acquire a financial stake in some of the top insurtech startups in the country, but also participate as mentors and engage in startups’ early business and product evolution.

As a part of the GIA, insurer investors are exposed to the newest industry-specific technology trends ahead of competitors, and, are therefore better able to evaluate future engagement with, and potential investment in, emerging technologies.

Markel and EMC join the GIA’s existing investor group, which includes American Equity Investment Life Holding Company, Delta Dental Plans Association, Farm Bureau Financial Services, Farmers Mutual Hail Insurance of Iowa, Grinnell Mutual Reinsurance Company, IMT Insurance Company, Mutual of Omaha Insurance Company and Principal Financial Group.

The GIA is now accepting applications for its third cohort, happening mid-January through April 2017.