Swiss headquartered weather index insurance and parametric risk transfer specialist CelsiusPro AG has launched a new disaster insurance solution designed to rapidly pay out emergency cash when earthquakes or tropical cyclones strike.
CelsiusPro has been offering weather derivatives and index insurance for years but this is its first parametric emergency cash insurance product, recognising that rapid pay outs and distribution of cash is vital after disasters strike.
It’s another example of a parametric product that will eventually require reinsurance market support, if successful and could be attractive to ILS fund managers looking to move into emerging regions.
Mark Rüegg, CEO of CelsiusPro, explained; “Providing a fast and efficient payout to bridge the first weeks after a disaster is critical for the survival and future economic prosperity of the affected areas. In order to provide cash immediately to cope with the catastrophe, we are launching parametric insurance for earthquakes and tropical cyclones.”
The products are available to the Philippines nationwide and also on a global basis, as CelsiusPro says it has the ability to model the effect of catastrophic events in high-resolution globally.
The company notes that parametric insurance solutions are based on the actual event data, from official and third-party reporting agencies. With payouts linked directly to the intensity of a catastrophe event and not requiring a lengthy claims assessment damages incurred, parametric insurance loss payments can be distributed much more quickly to aid recovery.
CelsiusPro says it is already in advanced discussions with local insurers in countries such as the Philippines to help them introduce new catastrophe insurance products for their clients.
CelsiusPro undertakes structuring, pricing and execution of the policies and their settlement, on behalf of partners. Noting that the Philippines government itself recognises the importance of parametric triggers for disaster insurance, having launched its own parametric insurance project with the support of the World Bank recently.
CatPro Earthquake is CelsiusPro’s emergency cash parametric earthquake insurance product. The trigger is based on the peak spectral acceleration (PSA) and peak ground acceleration (PGA) of an earthquake in the location of an insured.
“PSA and PGA data is provided with a 2 by 2 km resolution about the maximum acceleration that occurs during an earthquake at a given location on the surface. The earthquake loss is estimated by PSA data provided by the US Geological Survey, and based on a pre-defined loss settlement process the emergency cash amount is paid to the policyholder within days of a disaster,” the company explained.
CatPro Tropical Cyclone is the equivalent but for cyclone emergency cash insurance, with triggers linked to maximum sustained winds and the radius of maximum winds during a storm, using data from recognised meteorological agencies. CelsiusPro said it has developed a quantitative risk model specifically for this parametric product, to perform temporal and spatial interpolation of storm data between the officially available measurement points.
The company believes that the “significant increase in granularity” of this product enables it to offer a nationwide parametric tropical cyclone insurance product to the Philippines.
CelsiusPro policies are dealt with and administered via the firms online technology platform, keeping costs low. Automated pricing and calculation of triggers means payouts can be made rapidly and cash disbursed almost immediately after events.
CelsiusPro said that the parametric emergency cash products are suitable for insurance companies, government agencies and microfinance institutions in regions at risk of disasters and can easily be replicated in any potential market around the globe.
Such products would also be suitable to corporations looking to reduce their deductibles on wind and quake policies, or for those just seeking to secure a layer of cover that can payout very quickly and provide recovery funds.
The use of parametric triggers in commercial insurance scenarios would need much greater reinsurance support, but can also provide significant benefits for covering business interruption caused by catastrophes.
Of course the concept of an emergency cash insurance product also applies to much larger organisations, as funds to recover from disaster are required by corporations, insurance and reinsurance firms, however the key is in finding how to calibrate parametric triggers to fit alongside (benath/above/beside) indemnity type coverage.
CelsiusPro is targeting the Philippines with this product, but has the ability to roll it out globally if demand allows.
There has been something of a resurgence of interest in parametric coverage in the last year, with an increasing number recognising its importance in disaster relief, emergency funding and also as a risk transfer tool calibrated to payout based on specific disaster parameters.