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CEO: Bermuda is the ‘reinsurance centre of the world’

Bermuda has built the ideal environment for insurtech start-ups, the chief executive officer of Bermudian-based Kettle told attendees at the Bermuda Risk Summit 2022.

Kettle spent time in the Bermuda Monetary Authority’s insurtech sandbox before graduating to full registration.

The company uses machine learning technology to analyse data from 47 different sources, including Nasa satellites, weather satellites and laser-based Lidar mapping sensors, to predict more accurately the likelihood of California wildfires in any given square mile.

Andrew Engler, who formerly worked at Argo Group on the island, said timing was important. “When you have an alpha opportunity, you have to attack fast. You have to be able to jump into that marketplace as quick as possible,” he said.

“Now, compound that. You are a start-up – and especially someone like myself I have a couple of kids and a wife who ate enough ramen in college, and doesn’t want to eat it any more – you have to be able to move as fast as possible to meet this opportunity and not run out of whatever limited capital you have to start.”

He added: “There’s frankly nowhere else in the world like Bermuda that you are going to get the respect if you set up a business that is in something as highly regulated as insurance.

“And yet be able to do it in three months and have everyone know that it is being looked at intensely and that you’re not running across the rails on it.

“Most start-ups die and they don’t die for any other real reason then that they just don’t find that product market fit before they run out of cash.”

Mr Engler cited the example of an insurance start-up wishing to base itself in California.

He said: “Eighteen months later it is probably 12 months after we ran out of capital – and then we can finally start writing business.”

Mr Engler added: “Bermuda is just in this phenomenal position and especially because frankly this place has been the centre for climate understanding – it’s the reinsurance centre of the world – so you got to have this like perfect point in time where capital is sitting that has been focused on climate, which is now probably the biggest issue that we’re going to continually face. And it just kind of creates the perfect breeding ground here.”

Mr Engler was sitting on the panel “The Rise of Innovative Insurtech”, which explored how Bermuda’s tech-driven solutions are reshaping the reinsurance landscape and increasing efficiencies.

He was joined by Sandra DeSilva, founder, CEO and chief software architect at Bermudian-based Nova; Prashanth Gangu, chief operating officer and president of insurance and services, at island-based SiriusPoint; and Josephine Noddings, counsel at law firm Appleby.

The panel was moderated by Mitchell Klink, associate partner, technology consulting, at EY Bermuda.

Ms Noddings said Bermuda’s graduated licensing regime was aiding insurtech entrants into the market.

She said: “It has really thought about how to support those businesses so it’s got a tiered approach to the registration process.

“Instead of saying ‘well if you want to come to Bermuda you’ve got to be registered and fully ready to go’, we’ve got the Innovation Hub where people can develop proof of concept with support from the BDA and other partners in Bermuda.

“We’ve then got the sandbox … which really helps us work with these entrants to develop their business and work out how it will actually work in practice before they go on to be fully registered.”

Ms Noddings added: “I think having that support and that tiered approach, while I said earlier that regulation can be a barrier to entry into the space, I think having that approach and allowing people to graduate up as they scale their business and start to understand their business and how it actually operates in practice, really works for Bermuda as a jurisdiction and makes it a really good option and puts us at the forefront of that sector.”

Andrew Engler, left, and Josephine Noddings flank Prashanth Gangu during a panel discussion at the Bermuda Risk Summit 2022 (Photograph by Blaire Simmons)

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Published March 18, 2022 at 8:13 am (Updated March 18, 2022 at 8:13 am)

CEO: Bermuda is the ‘reinsurance centre of the world’

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