Technology emerging to help reinsurers write business
Aanika Biosciences, an emerging American biotech company using microbial-based technologies to protect the safety and security of our food system, has been accepted into the Bermuda Monetary Authority’s Innovation Hub.
The company said the programme will allow reinsurers to explore how the application of Aanika’s traceability and prevention technology can help reduce the magnitude and size of claims while lowering premiums and expanding protection for the food and agriculture industry.
Reinsurance is an almost $500 billion global industry that allows insurance carriers to offload portfolio risks to reinsurers and hedge funds.
Aanika estimates its technology could help in the underwriting of nearly $100 billion in premiums linked to contamination, recalls, crop insurance as well as non-safety related claims linked to ESG practices and general product liability.
Prior to co-founding Aanika, CEO Vishaal Bhuyan spent more than a decade in finance focused on investing, managing and co-authoring multiple books on insurance-linked derivatives related to human longevity, overfishing and water scarcity.
He said: “Climate change will wreak havoc on our food system – potentially accelerating contamination outbreaks, diseases and natural disasters that are damaging and outright destroying crops around the world.
“The insurance industry is not yet equipped to handle the volatility of risk and magnitude of loss – and is operating with a massive blind spot.
“In recent years insurers have adopted machine learning, satellite data and blockchain technologies to increase efficiency and more accurately price risks, but this will be the first use of synthetic biology to better prepare and protect themselves and their policyholders.”
The company said the proof-of-concept initiative approved by the BMA will enable Aanika to partner with insurance carriers to develop “test policies” for the US food and agricultural market that mandate applying the microbial technology in their supply chain.
This improved ability to distinguish identical commodities from each other will increase transparency throughout the claims process beyond what is possible with digital technologies alone, it said.
Aanika co-founder and chief science officer Dr Ellen Jorgensen says this is a unique and unprecedented opportunity to unlock the potential of synthetic biology.
Dr Jorgensen added: “We need stable, scalable, actionable solutions now to build a more resilient global food supply, which means finding inventive ways of looking at the problem.
“The Aanika science team has developed a way to adapt nature to meet this challenge, and it will be exciting to see how leveraging it in an unconventional way like reinsurance can have immediate as well as long-term benefits.”
By tapping into the reinsurance industry, Aanika said, it will be able to commercialise biological innovations in ways that have never been done before.
Aanika’s goal is to capture a fee on every policy that is essentially microscopically tethered to the product while using its growing pipeline of “secondary functions” to further enhance the stability and shelf life of said product – reducing the probability and magnitude of a claim.
Aanika Biosciences said it was cofounded in 2018 by Mr Bhuyan after he personally experienced the consequences of ordering fresh, ethically sourced seeds and receiving stale, contaminated products instead.
He made it his mission to create a safer food supply by finding a way to track, trace and authenticate products.
Aanika’s customised microbial-based tags help companies gain valuable insights about their supply chains, help their customers make better consumption choices, and create a more sustainable world, the company said.