Kettle hires Amit Shah from Ariel Re as chief distribution officer
Amit Shah has joined start-up reinsurance MGA Kettle as chief distribution officer to be based in Bermuda, moving from Ariel Re where he was head of specialty.
Shah has previously served at Argo Re, Guy Carpenter, Swiss Re and KPMG in underwriting and actuarial roles in Bermuda and London.
Andrew Engler, co-founder and CEO at Kettle, said: “Amit could not have chosen a better time to be joining us. With the level of demand we are seeing coming into 1.1, we are grateful to have another executive join our ranks with the level of quantitative and technological skill Amit has shown time and time again in his career.”
This comes as the early-stage MGA Kettle is poised to begin a fundraise after incorporating balance sheet entity Kettle Re in Bermuda.
The company declined to comment on the target size of its fundraise, but said it will not be seeking a rating and plans to use funds raised to write collateralised covers.
The company’s goal is to grow a property catastrophe reinsurance book based on its proprietary, machine-learning approach to modelling natural perils, with the initial focus high-value homeowners’ California wildfire risk.
Separately, it has signed a deal with Amwins, whose Amwins Access unit has designed and will underwrite and distribute a California homeowners product based on Kettle’s technology.
Amwins said: “Kettle’s differentiating California wildfire modelling, data and technology team have developed an API supporting a new, exclusive excess of loss product underwritten and designed by us.
Amwins Access underwriters use the highly interactive, Kettle-developed tool for price discovery, risk selection, aggregate management and portfolio optimisation. This one-of-its-kind product is expected to provide much needed capacity for the underserved high-value specialty homeowners market.”
Kettle’s senior team includes executive chairman Nigel Mortimer, former president of Argo’s Bermuda insurance operations, and Engler, who was formerly vice president of digital at Argo Group’s digital division and commercial field sales leader at Allstate.
Will Haddrell will join as CUO once his existing work obligations are completed. Haddrell previously managed the property catastrophe retrocessional book at Sompo International.
COO Nathaniel Manning previously led Ushahidi, the world’s largest open source data platform for crisis response and was the first chief data officer of the US Agency for International Development.
Haddrell said: “I’m thrilled to have someone of Amit’s talent and vast experience join the Kettle team. His relationships and underwriting skills will enable Kettle to achieve its lofty goals.”
Mortimer added: “Amit shares our vision of a future where data science plays the leading role in recalibrating the industry view of climate change risk and enables us to help reduce its increasingly harmful impact on society.”
On the fundraise for its reinsurance vehicle, Manning said that the firm would be matching 10% of funds raised with its own capital in order to demonstrate its confidence in its modelled outputs.
“That percentage is significant in relation to our company value – it’s our way of demonstrating to capacity providers that we really do believe in our model,” Manning said.
He added that Kettle’s approach to modelling leveraged machine learning and cloud processing to run around 600 billion simulations, compared to the hundreds of thousands typical of conventional cat modelling.
California wildfire had been the firm’s starting point because high quality, big data was available and there was a “price dislocation,” on the risk.
“Climate change is going to keep causing price dislocation, and this allows for us to develop better tools for understanding risk,” Manning said.
The company’s strategy is to apply its modelling capability to other natural perils and geographies in the future, including potentially to earthquake and flood risk.