Cactus Ltd’s Robinson doesn’t miss a trick
Colourful Bermuda shorts and a sprinkling of magic can take you places, the founder of Cactus Ltd discovered on a world tour with Lloyd’s of London.
James Robinson, who heads up the insurance technology company, embarked on a journey that included being hosted by Lloyd's at the Singapore International Reinsurance Conference.
After returning to the island, the tour continued in New York at another Lloyd's event, this time at the British Residence, hosted by the UK Department of Business and Trade.
The invitations were extended by Lloyd’s after Cactus participated in the ten-week Lloyd’s Lab programme last year with its flagship product, Marmalade, a platform that allows underwriters and brokers to consume, compare and communicate risks.
With more than 2,700 delegates, Mr Robinson said, the Singapore event was a bustling hub for insurance professionals.
He added: “The benefit was mostly meeting people from London, Bermuda and New York.
“The Bermuda contingent — there were ten of us — created a sense of camaraderie in people. On Front Street, they wouldn’t have known who I was.”
Attired in Bermuda shorts, Mr Robinson navigated the event with a strategy — distributing notebooks and performing close-up magic — an approach that he said not only broke the ice but also opened doors to valuable conversations.
He said: "In a room full of suits and seriousness, a bit of magic and Bermuda shorts can go a long way.
"It's not just about showing our platform's capabilities. It's about connecting, understanding needs and demonstrating how Cactus can revolutionise the way risks are handled.
“And, of course, a little bit of Bermuda charm never hurts."
Mr Robinson said his approach led to a significant connection with Katy Fairweather, head of Singapore for Aon.
He said: “I met her in the queue for coffee. I asked if she wanted to see a magic trick and we ended up having a chat for 20 minutes.”
Mr Robinson also met Bermudian Greg Martin, who is the head of Singapore for Bermudian-based Acumen Group, the international recruitment firm.
He said: “If I had not been wearing Bermuda shorts, we never would have met. They are a conversation starter.”
Mr Robinson said he had about 60 conversations at the Singapore event, and left with four reasonable leads to follow up on.
In New York, Mr Robinson said, he connected with John Neal, chief executive of Lloyd's, and other influential figures from the insurance world at the launch of the twelfth cohort of Lloyd’s Lab.
He said these encounters underscored Cactus’s growing significance in the industry.
Mr Robinson said he anticipates the imminent signing of the company’s first client in London, and added that Cactus is going through the onboarding process for a broker on the West Coast of the United States.
He said that the platform has been instrumental in binding several million dollars worth of premiums, demonstrating its efficacy and the growing trust in its capabilities.
This week, Mr Robinson heads to London for a business development trip.
He said: "Bermuda is more than a beautiful island. It’s a hub of innovation and talent.
“Cactus is proud of its Bermuda origins, and we're here to show the world what we're made of — innovation, determination and a bit of magic.”