InsTech’s Tara Allsopp spoke to Ben Laidlaw, Chief Technology Officer and Syndicate Portfolio Manager at Carbon Underwriting, to discuss the benefits of using technology to make the delegated underwriting process more efficient, the benefits of data sharing across the value chain and its plans to expand the company’s proprietary technology platform, Graphene, to third parties.
What was your motivation for co-founding Carbon Underwriting?
By way of brief background, Carbon was established in 2020 and is a class agnostic Managing General Underwriter (MGU) and Lloyd’s Syndicate-In-A-Box 4747 focused on driving transformation in the international coverholder market. Carbon Underwriting operates as an underwriting and data lead with a focus on coverholder partnerships.
Most of the management team at Carbon Underwriting have backgrounds focusing on delegated and open market business placed at Lloyd’s. Collectively, we realised there was a gap in the market for monitoring internal portfolios and binders and started developing tools to make processes more efficient.
When setting up Carbon Underwriting as Lloyd’s Syndicate-In-A-Box 4747 we were focused on underwriting binder-only portfolios. As part of this, we developed new processes which we formalised into the Graphene platform. Carbon Underwriting's coverholder partners, capacity providers and reinsurers all use the platform, which provides access to key delegated authority underwriting analysis and coverholder performance data.
What is your role at Carbon Underwriting and what is your background?
Carbon Underwriting is keen to integrate the technology and underwriting aspects of the business, and my role as CTO and Syndicate Portfolio Manager supports this. Through these two complementary roles, I am able to understand our underwriting portfolios and the capital raising and (re)insurance tools being used to support the business. Coming from an underwriting background enables me to understand the pain points and pressures of underwriters, and solve these in a technology-focused and data-driven manner.
What products does Carbon Underwriting offer?
On the underwriting side, Carbon Underwriting specialises in delegated underwriting business. The company writes in three key territories: Australia, Canada and Europe. Currently, the team’s book is split between property and casualty SME business, with intentions to move into financial lines and workers’ compensation.
The technology side of the business manages the Graphene platform which is currently for use by Carbon Underwriting and its partners (coverholders, participating Lloyd’s syndicates, brokers and reinsurers).
The aim of Graphene is to present underwriters with conclusions from relevant data, sourced from underwriting, claims, portfolio segmentation and mid-term portfolio adjustments. Graphene shares these underwriting conclusions with partners who have access to the platform. The outputs from Graphene are used to provide risk management insights and drive proactive corrective strategies.
Are you looking to offer Graphene to those outside your partner network?
There are many potential applications for Graphene above and beyond its current risk analytics application and the platform has been built with expansion firmly in mind.
Carbon Underwriting is working towards rolling Graphene out as a SaaS platform for third parties to use. Those who licence the system from Carbon Underwriting for their own use will be able to log on with a single sign-in, load up their own coverholder data and extract their own underwriting insights.
Why do you think third parties might be interested in using Graphene?
Graphene will allow users to directly access insights from data loaded into Delegated Data Manager (DDM). There is a lot of focus on Blueprint 2 to modernise the London market and Graphene has been developed to be fully compatible with the DDM. There is a demand in the Lloyd’s market to understand the benefits of putting delegated authority data into DDM.
The team is using this delegated authority data to enhance Graphene’s data model and show the value of making use of DDM.
Do you think the insurance industry could benefit from a more collaborative mindset?
One way that the whole industry could improve on is the way it uses and handles data. We need to find better ways to get data along the value chain from source to underwriter than the current methods. We can also get better insights from our data if we work with external data providers and more collaboratively with each other. Carbon Underwriting wants to encourage fellow insurers to be less proprietary and more open and collaborative with a view to the whole market achieving better underwriting conclusions faster.
How does Graphene source data for its open underwriting models?
The team has invested time and methodology into getting risks and claims onto the platform from its international coverholder partners. When the Carbon Underwriting team onboards these coverholders, it is expected that they will provide a back-year data set for ingestion into Graphene to standardise, centralise and structure that data.
What areas of business are you looking to innovate in the second half of the year?
The Carbon Underwriting team wants to see the augmentation of its existing data model using third-party data sources and in-house underwriting tools. Once that is complete, the team would like to add machine learning to help price portfolios as a way of offloading more work for underwriters.
What types of companies are you interested in connecting with?
Carbon Underwriting is interested in connecting with any companies that are involved in data analytics either from an insurance or technology point of view. The team would also be interested in speaking to those who can provide data sets that can sit on top of Graphene’s
model, along with tech-enabled MGAs.
If you are interested in setting up a demo of the Graphene platform please reach out to: Ben Laidlaw, E: Ben@carbonuw.com