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A look at space insurance (With David Wade)

Season 2, Ep. 14

Welcome to Insurance Covered. In this episode we discuss space insurance, these policies cover and why companies take these out. Peter is joined by David Wade, Underwriter at Atrium Underwriting where he specialises in Space insurance. We discuss, the insurance of space projects, satellites and the future of space exploration.

We start by talking about the history of space exploration, the key projects and achievements and where that has left us in the present day. David explains space exploration as we know it came from advancements in rocket weaponry in the second world war. Following the end of the war the science was used to create ships that could break out of the earths atmosphere with the overriding goal of exploring the solar system. David also mentions satellites, and how they are crucial to life as we know it and made fast paced communication a reality. There have been around 12,000 satellites launched and 4000 of those are currently still active.   

We then discuss how insurance of satellites works. David explains that some of the first satellite policies came through Lloyd's in the mid-1960s. Most of what Atrium cover is the more commercial space activity, satellites used for television and different policies are taken out at different phases of a satellites life cycle.  "Typically, separate policies for each phase, so, before the satellite is launched there's a pre-launch cover that is available, this is really offered by the cargo markets. At this, at that stage a satellite is just another piece of equipment being transported from a factory to a place of use. That policy ceases when the launch cover starts, that usually really means the first year of life of the satellite. So that policy attaches at intentional ignition or lift off, or launch. So that would cover the satellite whilst it was on its, on its rocket going into space. Once that first month has passed and the satellite has been thoroughly tested and it starts commercial operations that would be a different policy". 

Finally, we discuss what the future of space insurance holds. David indicates that with the likes of Elon Musk and Richard Branson, commercial space travel will eventually be available to the public and with that a whole new type of space insurance policy.

We hope you enjoyed this episode of Insurance Covered, many thanks to David for joining us. If you did enjoy, please subscribe to be notified when new episodes are released.


More Episodes

9/13/2021

Slipcase: How to know what you don’t know (With Alex Hearn)

Season 2, Ep. 19
Welcome to Insurance Covered. In this episode we discuss Slipcase a curator of insurance focused news and insights. Our guest is Alex Hearn, Managing Director at Slipcase and we will be looking at how Slipcase can become a valuable tool for those working in the world of insurance. We start by looking at what Slipcase is and why it was founded. Alex describes Slipcase in its simplest form as a central content platform for the global commercial and specialty sector of the insurance market with the simple aim of being a one stop shop to come and get all the information you might need on a day to day basis. Through a simple preferences form slipcase can tailor a newsfeed to an individual's specific areas of interest. If an aviation underwriter only wants news directly related to this area it's easy for him to find all the latest news in one place. Slipcase is available as a website and an app but also offers daily newsletters sent directly to your inbox with the news stories that relate to your selected areas of interest. Alex goes on to explain that Slipcase partner with firms across the industry and collect any content they produce, be that a blog, a white paper, a video or a podcast and they take that information and add it to their central pool of information. This method helps subscribers by collecting all the information into one easy to access place and also benefits the firms as it amplifies the exposure of their articles. We also discuss the plans for Slipcase in the future. Alex mentions that they have a desire to enhance the analytics they get from the platform and have hired data scientists to help make that a reality. They are also currently in the process of redesigning the interface to enable them to better highlight the big news stories and events taking place. So, the future aim for Slipcase is to become an even more detailed tool for users to digest information about the insurance world in ways that they will find easier and more useful. We hope you enjoyed this episode of Insurance Covered, if you did please subscribe to keep up to date with future episodes.
8/31/2021

How the insurance industry could bring down fossil fuels (with Tom Johansmeyer)

Season 2, Ep. 18
Welcome to Insurance Covered. In this episode we discuss the relationship between fossil fuels and insurance. Our guest is Tom Johansmeyer, Head of Property Claims Services at Verisk insurance solutions. Tom recently had an article published in the Harvard Business Review 'How the insurance industry could bring down fossil fuels' which is what we will be focusing on today.First, we take a closer look at the article Tom wrote on the topic of ESG, fossil fuels and the role insurance can play in reducing the use of fossil fuels. The article focuses on the recent Lloyd's decision to phase out insurance for most fossil fuels by 2030. "I wanted to take a look at was the business side of that decision.Because, having looked at ESG issues in various forms over the past 15 years of my career, I've always struggled with this notion of will companies do the right thing because it's right or is there a business incentive to do so".As part of the research behind the article Tom looked at historical marine and energy losses and historical global large risk losses to see which of these are from companies directly involved in the fossil fuel business and what portion of a loss do they make up. They found that We found that around two thirds of the losses in that segment are from companies directly involved in the fossil fuel business. So this goes some way to explain why Lloyd's have made the decision they have, from a purely business orientated perspective before even considering ESG pressures. Investors want companies to be more ESG positive but at the same time they also want it to be value accretive.So the challenge is finding a way to pivot away from the fossil fuel business into another profitable market, renewables being the clear choice. "So, the challenge now is finding ways to engage insurance capital to support renewables given the transition from a difficult loss history to potentially more profitable business given the new technology that is being deployed." We then look at where the pressure to move away from unsustainable energy risks has come from. Tom explains that here has been a recent surge in importance in ESG issues, but this has been building for over a decade. This pressure to be ESG conscious is coming from investors but also regulators. Finally, we discuss what insurers can and are going to do to remove themselves from the fossil fuel industry in order to achieve the 2030 target set by Lloyds. "It's going to be a decades-long process, because there cannot be a wholesale withdrawal, partly because some of these policies are tong-term policies. There are a number of commitments that are being signed up 'the net zero insurance alliance' and the UN's principles for sustainable insurance". If insurers begin to start focusing on getting ESG favourable contingent capital, from reinsurers and IOS funds as well as making the ESG pledges and shifting away from unsustainable business lines we should begin to see ESG favourable strategies falling into place. We hope you enjoyed this episode of Insurance Covered, if you did please subscribe to keep up to date with future episodes.
8/16/2021

A look at personal accident insurance (With Peter Laidlaw)

Season 2, Ep. 17
Welcome to Insurance Covered. In this episode we are looking at personal accident insurance. Our guest this week is Peter Laidlaw, Head of the accident and health underwriting team at Atrium Underwriting. Peter specialises in writing a variety of risks, from K&R to our topic for today personal accident.We start by discussing what exactly personal accident insurance is and what is included within it. Peter explains that it is exactly what it sounds like, accidents or risks that put a human life at risk of injury or worse. This can include permanent disability, temporary absence from work through accident or sickness, medical expenses, critical illness. It also includes travel to dangerous areas.Peter goes on to explain that this kind of cover is often targeted towards high net worth individuals, celebrities and athletes are often the focus of these policies. We then look at a general example. If a premiership football team makes major investment to purchase a striker for £100m they would want to protect that investment. The team would take a policy out to make sure that if anything happens to that player that they basically would not lose the initial investment that they made. A policy would be written to protect against loss of value as a result of accident or injury to the player.We then look at where this kind of business comes from. Peter explains that a lot of the risks come from the US entertainment industry, for the obvious reason that it is so much bigger than in the UK. However he notes that there are still a number of celebrities and athletes on the books from outside of the US.Finally we discuss if it impacts the underwriting process when its a well known public figure. Peter explains that regardless of the individual they are seen as an asset in the same way a car or Yacht would be to prevent any kind of bias being present.We hope you enjoyed this episode of Insurance Covered, if you did please subscribe to be notified of future episodes.