BI’s Article search uses Boolean search capabilities. If you are not familiar with these principles, here are some quick tips.

To search specifically for more than one word, put the search term in quotation marks. For example, “workers compensation”. This will limit your search to that combination of words.

To search for a combination of terms, use quotations and the & symbol. For example, “hurricane” & “loss”.

Login Register Subscribe

Parametric cover gains ground in hard market

ski resort

Parametric insurance is gaining traction as traditional insurance prices continue to harden and companies operating in the sector build up a claims payment history, industry observers say.

The coverage, though, which is based on an index or threshold rather than being triggered by a specific loss, remains a specialist area that is used to address a specific risk or a shortfall in traditional insurance programs, some say.

Areas covered by the products have expanded — for example, with the recent launch of parametric insurance coverages for cyber exposures. 

Parametric coverage comes in various formats. One often-cited example is coverage for a ski resort as protection against a lack of snowfall. Should a specific minimum snowfall — such as 12 inches in a specified period — not be reached, a payout could be triggered, regardless of whether the ski resort lost money. 

Parametrics are often tied to a single, measurable threshold or index, and payments can be made comparatively quickly, often within 30 days of a loss, experts say. 

Megan Linkin, New York-based senior parametric nat cat structurer for Swiss Re Corporate Solutions, said claims in North America have frequently been settled within 14 days. Among Swiss Re’s offerings are parametric hail coverage, available in the U.S. since 2020, and its Pop Storm platform, where hurricane limits up to $5 million can be bound online in a parametric policy. Other products address hurricane and earthquake risks, she said. In addition to hurricane, earthquake is another leading peril covered by parametrics.

Demonstrating claims payments is a key component in building trust in the product, Ms. Linkin said. 

“An additional piece of education that has helped make the case with clients is the claims. That claims history has definitely helped,” she said, in terms of building client confidence and demonstrating the products will respond and perform as described. 

Ms. Linkin added that Swiss Re has had claims under its hail coverage for all three years it has been in effect and payouts have occurred with other products for hurricanes and earthquakes in North America and Asia Pacific. 

“Paying claims is the end goal of insurance. We are exposed to more than 60 geographies and 20 perils and have paid claims due to frosts, cyclones, wildfires, droughts and hailstorms,” said Tanguy Touffut, co-founder and CEO of Paris-based Descartes Underwriting SAS.

Parametrics, though, appear more limited in scope than traditional insurance when covering a specific risk, and thus more expensive, said Susan Hiteshew, vice president of risk management for AvalonBay Communities Inc., an Arlington, Virginia-based real estate investment trust.

“You are very proscriptive in what you’re covering, and that’s generally a narrower scope than what a traditional insurance policy would cover, so on a relative basis it appears more expensive,” Ms. Hiteshew said, adding she has reviewed such coverage for more than one company but has yet to use it.

The coverage can be a useful tool for risk professionals addressing a specific risk or shortfall in an overall program, she said.

Parametric coverage can also provide an additional avenue to capacity amid a firm property market in which traditional capacity is constricted, said Cole Mayer, senior structurer, North America, in San Francisco for Swiss Re Corporate Solutions. 

“Market disruption is forcing folks to really think about how they transfer natural catastrophe risk,” Mr. Mayer said. Some policyholders are adding parametric coverage to their risk management “toolbox” and using it to cover deductibles and exclusions or gaps left by traditional coverages, he said. 

“We’ve seen a substantial increase in interest from clients in parametric and index solutions. The hard market environment and more volatile loss frequency and severity have resulted in increased retentions, tightening of terms and conditions, and coverage exclusions,” said Antoine Bavandi, London-based global head of the public, parametric and climate resilience solutions practice for Gallagher Re, the reinsurance business of Arthur J. Gallagher & Co. 

While parametrics are “traditionally mostly used for public sector transactions and agriculture insurance, parametric solutions are now increasingly being considered as a complementary component in commercial insurance programs,” he said. 

Parametrics are also being deployed beyond mainstream property/casualty exposures. 

For example, New York-based Parametrix Insurance Services Inc. monitors cloud providers for outages as part of its triggering mechanism for cloud downtime coverage. Intangic MGA Ltd., a London-based cyber managing general agent launched recently with backing from Axa XL, a unit of Axa SA, offers companies up to $15 million in coverage for losses from material cyber breaches, using the measured level of malicious activity targeting a company and the subsequent loss in value as triggers. 

Ryan Dodd, founder and CEO of Intangic, said newly abundant data empowers the growth of parametrics. “It’s easier and inexpensive to gather, store and process data. You have a much larger, more robust data set from which to determine predictive outcomes.” 

“Data advancements are making parametric products more robust, which is increasing buyers’ appetite,” said Descartes’ Mr. Touffut. “Incorporating satellite and radar technologies, machine learning and advanced physics into underwriting models has enabled a much more precise understanding of risks.”

Triggers devised to provide coverage for cloud outages, cyber risks

Parametrics have recently been used to cover cyber exposures for businesses that conduct operations online and rely on cloud computing services. 

New York-based Parametrix Insurance Services LLC provides technology downtime insurance to protect businesses from potential losses tied to third-party content delivery network outages. It monitors cloud providers for outages as part of the triggering mechanism for its cloud downtime coverage. 

Parametrix’s main clients are enterprises with revenue between $200 million and a few billion, with coverage limits ranging from $5 million to around $50 million, according to Tel Aviv, Israel-based Neta Rozy, co-founder and chief technical officer of Parametrix. She said that typically policyholders are insured against outage or service disruption affecting one or more of the top three cloud providers: Amazon Web Services, Microsoft Azure and Google Cloud Platform. 

“Cyber is a market where people are looking for solutions,” said Ryan Dodd, founder and CEO of Intangic MGA Ltd., a London-based cyber managing general agent launched with backing from Axa XL, a unit of Axa SA. Intangic offers U.K.-based companies up to $15 million in coverage for losses from material cyber breaches, using the measured level of malicious activity targeting a company and the subsequent loss in value as triggers. 

Demand is “moving faster than expected,” Mr. Dodd said, after Intangic accelerated its plans to expand to the United States due to inquiries. “I didn’t expect we’d move this quickly to the U.S.,” he said.

Laurent Sabatié, co-founder and executive director of London-based Skyline Partners Ltd., which specializes in parametric coverages and partnered with Intangic in developing its cover, said the expanding use of parametric coverages “brings new actors into insurance,” such as data set providers and other players from the technology sector.

Parametrix has also recently adapted some of its models for use in structuring the first insurance-linked securities for cyber coverages, or cyber cat bonds.