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2020 US Insurance Awards: Swiss Re Corporate Solutions, Insurtech Initiative of the Year (underwriting and insurance platforms)

Martin Hotz, Cole Mayer

Swiss Re Corporate Solutions’ Pop Storm, an online parametric hurricane coverage platform, is bringing data-driven coverage to small and middle-market enterprises. It’s also brought the SwissRe Ltd. unit a Business Insurance 2020 U.S. Insurance Award for Insurtech Initiative of the Year (underwriting and insurance platforms). 

Pop Storm went live in 2019 with Texas, Louisiana, Florida, South Carolina and North Carolina. “This year we expanded by adding Mississippi, Alabama and Georgia,” said Martin Hotz, head of parametric natural catastrophe in Zurich for Swiss Re Corporate Solutions. 

Most parametric transactions in the property insurance line of business are relatively large, bespoke deals, Mr. Hotz said. “Small and medium-sized corporations are equally exposed to natural catastrophe such as hurricanes. We realized the product applies to all company sizes, but for smaller businesses a more efficient way of distribution is needed.” 

That’s where the Pop Storm platform comes in, as an efficient distribution channel, he said. “It’s very efficient for the broker to deal with and also gives the client a speedy quote” and potentially same-day turnaround.

Limits available on the platform are $500,000 to $5 million, said Cole Mayer, vice president in San Francisco with Swiss Re Corporate Solutions. Coverage is typically for a single location – one latitude and one longitude point each. A larger, bespoke transaction of the type handled off the platform could involve hundreds of such locations, he said.

The single-location simplicity of the structure “tends to lend itself to smaller clients,” along with the available limits, which Mr. Mayer said are “on the lower end of what you might see in the larger corporate or public entity space.” 

Parametric hurricane coverage secured through the portal is based on three variables: location, the attachment point and the limit, Mr. Mayer said.

Three payout tables are offered online showing wind speeds and corresponding payouts. The Platinum level has the lowest attachment point and is therefore the most responsive. The Gold level occupies the middle space, and the Silver level, with the highest attachment point, is the least expensive as it will respond to fewer events.

Pricing varies substantially based on these three factors. A policy with the lowest limit could be purchased for “thousands of dollars,” Mr. Hotz said.

Swiss Re Corporate Solutions uses RMS HWind, part of catastrophe modeler Risk Management Solutions Inc. of Newark, California, to verify wind speeds for claims, and payouts can typically be settled within days, Mr. Mayer said.


• Cover Genius Pty Ltd. — Cover Genius co-creates insurance products with partners in more than 60 countries and every U.S. state with distribution through its XCover platform. 

• Bold Penguin Inc. — Online digital insurance exchange Bold Penguin launched its new Agent Terminal in fall 2019 to help serve the small commercial space. 

• FM Global — FM Global/HyperScience-The Intelligent Automation team at FM Global is using the latest in robotic process automation and machine learning to speed up accounts payable invoice processing within its organization. 

• Stable Coverage Inc. — Stable’s parametric insurance platform covers more than 3,000 commodities in 40 countries, allowing agri-food businesses to protect themselves from the substantial risk of pricing volatility.

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