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Descartes Underwriting Designs Innovative Insurance Solutions To Protect Companies And Governments Against Emerging Risks

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Descartes Underwriting is an InsurTech founded in 2018, designing innovative insurance solutions to protect companies and governments against natural catastrophes and emerging risks, and make them more resilient in the face of climate change. Below is our recent interview with Violaine Raybaud, Head Of Business Development at Descartes Underwriting:

Q: Could you provide our readers with a brief introduction to Descartes Underwriting?

A: At Descartes, we are driven by the conviction that new technologies, satellite imaging, IoT and AI can deeply change the insurance sector, deliver superior customer value and bring to life the promise of smoother and faster claim management along with new solutions for emerging risks.

We are structured as an MGA, underwriting risks on behalf of tier-one (re)insurers and Insurance-Linked securities funds.

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Q: Can you put simply and tell us more about what specifically you do to help businesses with technology?

A: At Descartes, we use AI, satellite data and IoT to create new insurance solutions tackling climate and emerging risks.

Today, thanks to new processing capabilities, cloud computing and data sources, you do not need to have your own historical data to price natural risks. Satellite data, IoT and recent data analytics research allow Descartes to design, model and price insurance coverage for new, emerging and changing risks arising in the wake of climate change.

Technology also allows us to deliver a smoother customer experience after a claim: with parametric insurance, claims are settled automatically based on real-time data from satellite or IoT, and payments are made quickly and unarguably at a time when liquidity may be critical to a business’s survival.

Q: Who is your ideal customer and why?

A: Parametric insurance is the best solution for any business looking to protect revenues and profits against natural catastrophes and weather-related perils. There is a perfect match between climate risks and parametric covers. All trade sectors are vulnerable, ranging from agri business to renewables, industry, hospitality, retail, …

Parametric products are applicable for all sizes of business too – from the very small companies through affinity deals to the largest jumbos with USD10+m deals.

Q: Do you have any particular advice for startups planning to raise capital?

A: During a pandemic, raising capital may be more challenging as you must convince your future investors remotely and the economic crisis may dampen their spirits. That being said, there is a flight to quality and this is a good test for start-ups to demonstrate their resilience. The rapid and forced digitization has also created new needs and new business opportunities.

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Q: What can we expect from you in the future? What are your plans?

A: The new financing will be used to support our global expansion to the United States and Asia. While headquartered out of Paris, we already cover the risks of our clients in a variety of geographies including Europe, North America, Latin America and Asia and plan to open new offices in New York and Singapore. We will also use the funds to grow our product range, target larger deals and deepen our tech capabilities and data science team.

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