Parametric specialist Descartes opens London office

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Descartes Underwriting, the insurance technology (insurtech) focused managing general agency (MGA) that specialises in parametric and data-driven risk transfer products, has opened its first office in London as it targets regional growth and improved access to international risks in the London market.

descartes-underwriting-logoDescartes Underwriting announced two key appointments along with the office launch, with Paul Jones hired from AXA XL and joining the firm as the Business Development Director – U.K. & Ireland, while Alessandro Girelli transitions from Descartes’ Paris office to serve as Underwriting Manager, overseeing the London International Market activity.

Jones has close to 20 years’ experience in underwriting, client management and alternative risk transfer, with his most recent role at AXA XL, where he helped set up AXA Parametrics in the UK, prior to which he worked at Allianz.

Girelli has extensive underwriting and data science experience and played an important role in establishing Descartes’ bespoke statistical and machine learning models for risk analysis.

The pair will manage the roll-out of Descartes parametric risk transfer offering in the region and across the London insurance and reinsurance market.

“With heavy rainfall events in July 2021 leading to hospital closures and massive infrastructure disruptions, recurrent droughts and greater anomalies in temperatures putting pressure on the energy sector, weather and climate risks have put the U.K. and Ireland insurance markets on watch. In light of hardening market conditions, brokers have been doing their best to restructure complex placements. This has been challenged by the gap in underwriting appetite and capacity versus client need – which has proven almost impossible to fill at sustainable conditions without incorporating alternative solutions. Descartes is delighted to collaborate with brokers to meet these evolving client needs with our pragmatic approach and parametric solutions,” Paul Jones, Business Development Director – U.K. & Ireland, commented in reference to the launch.

“A succession of record breaking extreme weather events in all corners of the globe this year serves to highlight the expanded exposure of all trade sectors to climate risks,” added Alessandro Girelli, Underwriting Manager – London International Market. “As the historical center of insurance, it makes sense for the London market to be at the crucial forefront of placing global Nat Cat and climate exposures. We are proud to bring Descartes’ parametric solutions closer to brokers and corporate clients in the U.K., Irish and London International markets.”

Descartes is structured as an MGA and is backed by a panel of tier-one risk carriers, with the ability to provide $200 million USD in capacity per policy.

Just over a year ago, Descartes announced an $18.5 million Series A funding round from leading global venture capital firms to scale up the parametric insurance space.

Part of this was expanding its footprint in key markets and Descartes Underwriting launched into the key United States and North American market at the end of 2020.

The company then launched in Asia Pacific earlier this year as well.

With a focus on corporate insurance protection against natural catastrophe and climate risks, Descartes has been expanding the remit of the parametric trigger, working across numerous risks and perils.

Now, the company aims to expand its technology-driven parametric product range to the UK and Ireland market, as well as to the important London international marketplace.

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