Insurance and reinsurance entrepreneur and Brit co-founder Neil Eckert has been revealed as Chairman of a new venture called IncubEx that will target new product and service development opportunities in partnership with financial service and financial technology firms.
IncubEx is “a financial markets incubator and business development team” according to the firm, with experience and market relationships across such sectors as global energy and environmental commodities, reinsurance, and related asset classes. It sounds like IncubEx wants to partner with companies to help incubate and ‘season’ ideas for exchange based technologies that can disrupt verticals.
The company aims to have a hand in “building tomorrow’s markets” which is something Eckert has attempted in a number of sectors, including the reinsurance market with the IFEX risk trading venture, throughout his career.
Neil Eckert, who is Chairman of IncubEx, was of course behind the catastrophe derivatives trading ideas at the Insurance Futures Exchange (IFEX) venture, which was perhaps a little ahead of its time.
The IFEX sought to provide an exchange based platform for trading insurance-linked contracts, such as derivatives or event-linked futures, tied to perils such as U.S. hurricane risks in peak zone regions such as Florida and the Gulf Coast.
Eckert launched the IFEX as part of the Climate Exchange plc venture he founded and was CEO of (and subsequently sold for £400m), in partnership with Deutsche Bank.
The IFEX platform gained some traction through 2008 and 2009, but failed to gain sufficient activity to become sustainable on a long-term basis. Many reasons were given for this at the time, ranging from transparency of the contract triggers to the lack of open auction functionality, but it was perhaps timing as much as anything and the fact that the technology was less advanced than we see today.
Now back with this new venture, it will be interesting to see whether IncubEx targets the reinsurance market, as it is clearly time that a risk trading platform, exchange or auction existed, allowing cedents and risk capital providers to meet and trade standardised catastrophe risk linked insurance or reinsurance contracts.
Or perhaps IncubEx will see opportunities to bring financial technology to bear on further accelerating the convergence of insurance and capital markets, which could provide opportunities for IncubEx to leverage its connections and experience of stakeholders such as Eckert in an effort to capitalise on the pace of change in reinsurance and the pace of innovation in Insurtech.
“With the launch of IncubEx, I am pleased to bring together key leaders from teams that helped innovate and build successes over two decades. They have pioneered emissions allowance trading, developed reinsurance markets and helped build businesses such as Climate Exchange PLC,” Michael MacGregor, IncubEx CEO, commented on the launch.
Chairman Neil Eckert also commented on the launch, saying; “Following a successful capital raise, we are finding strong interest from leading exchanges and other potential partners. The IncubEx team brings a record of delivering value to customers, investors, and the broader trading community. We are well positioned to grow our business in these rapidly evolving markets.”
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