Insurance Auto Auctions, Inc. will set up an innovation hub in a partnership with technology incubator 1871 called IAA Engine House that will serve as an idea-generation and development center where employees can collaborate with educators, investors, mentors, technologists, buyers and sellers, the company has announced.

IAA, a business unit of KAR Auction Services, will locate the innovation hub in 1,000 square feet of Chicago's Merchandise Mart at 1871, a 140,000-square-foot space that's home to more than 1,000 inventors, designers, and creators. More that 500 startups are based at the location.

IAA Engine House will have up to 20 employees at a time and will offer a rotation schedule to expose as many associates to the culture and shared knowledge at 1871, which takes its name from the Great Chicago Fire of 1871 due to the innovative way engineers and others rebuilt the city after its near destruction.

"Our insurance and automotive remarketing customers require solutions that help them decrease cycle time, increase efficiency, make data-driven decisions and, above all, improve their economic returns," said John Kett, CEO and president of IAA. "We are making strategic investments to help fuel more rapid progress in the industry. Being in an environment where we can share ideas and collaborate with universities and startups that are advancing technology gives us the advantage to lead the innovation of our industry. We can work to enhance our current technologies, but more importantly, to develop the solutions of the future."

The amount of the investment was not disclosed.

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