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Bermuda’s Kalista launches new weather product

Bermuda-based Kalista Global, an insurance and reinsurance services company with a focus on the alternative reinsurance sectors, has partnered with Bermuda-based New Grange Brokers to launch a type of parametric index-based insurance weather product.

The new product is called EPC, or ENSO-based Parametric Cover, and functions by utilising sea surface temperatures taken from the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Association (NOAA) as the basis for insurance payout.

“Sea surface temperatures are highly predictive and directly correlated with extreme El Nino events,” the company said in a statement. “Extraordinary sea surface temperatures can signal severe El Nino events months in advance of its impact on land, which enables an insurance payment to be made several months before catastrophic weather occurs. This advance payment can then be used by the insured for risk mitigation and adaptation strategies to reduce losses and potential disruptions from the impending catastrophe.”

The insurance uses an index for payout that provides an objective means to measure losses, such as excess rain, high river levels, or extreme sea surface temperatures.

According to Kalista, by using an index as the proxy for loss, there is no need for expensive loss assessments. Utilising an index also reduces moral hazard and other issues that can arise with traditional insurance covers. The trigger is based on the ENSO (El Nino Southern Oscillation) cycle index, which covers El Nino, La Nina and normal sea surface conditions. Claims are paid out by cat bond investors or collateralised/convergent markets.

“The indemnification process of the payout isn’t any different to a regular ILS deal, it’s just the timing of the payout that is different,” said Spencer Conway, executive vice president of Kalista. “Because of the predictive nature of the Sea Surface Temperatures used from the ENSO index trigger, the payments will essentially be made to the insured before the loss happens.

The company says that ENSO measurements were initially developed over 50 years ago by the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration and have been in use ever since.

“The product is extremely unique as it can trigger before a disaster actually happens, making it applicable for a wide range of uses including smoothing out commodity price volatility for natural gas and electricity, covering Loss of Production Income for wind turbine farms (onshore / offshore) or agriculture risk,” the company said in a statement.

“This product greatly benefits protection buyers by providing advance payments that allow them to better manage and prepare for an El Nino event, as well as the immediate consequences of a severe catastrophe,” added Mr Conway. “This is a transparent and easy-to-understand product offering that is highly complementary to existing hurricane covers, and should therefore be extremely desirable to re/insurers.

“In October of 2012 we announced the launch of our Parametric Catastrophe Solutions, designed to assist with exposures previously considered difficult to underwrite or uninsurable. With EPC, utilising our in-house structuring expertise we have crafted a product designed to meet specific, targeted needs of protection for buyers whilst at the same time being attractive to re/insurers.”

Hugh O’Donnell of Bermuda-based New Grange Brokers said: “This product exemplifies the clear-thinking, unique processes that Kalista creates and, as such, New Grange is proud to be a part of.”

Spencer Conway, executive vice president of Kalista

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Published January 25, 2013 at 8:00 am (Updated January 24, 2013 at 7:46 pm)

Bermuda’s Kalista launches new weather product

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