Howden launches world-first insurance innovation hub with £500m of delegated underwriting capacity


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London, 16 October 2023 – Howden has launched Howden Ventures, subject to Lloyd’s approval, with £500m of delegated underwriting capacity, to create an investment and risk incubator that will fast-track insurance product development. 

Howden Ventures will draw expertise and resources from specialist innovation teams across the global insurance market. The platform includes a world-first delegated underwriting authority, backed by leading Lloyd’s underwriters, including Tokio Marine Kiln, Chaucer, and Liberty Specialty Markets that provides £500m of syndicated underwriting capacity to support the development of new insurance solutions. 

As new funding for the global insurtech sector continues to fall following the collapse of Silicon Valley Bank, Howden Ventures has initially committed £10m of new funding to the sector, with a view to support at least five new startups over the next two years.

By bringing together funding, underwriting capital, expertise, governance and distribution all in one place for the first time, Howden Ventures will create an end-to-end platform and commercial solution that accelerates new product development and insurance innovation. As the UK government moves forward with its planned Solvency II reforms, Howden Ventures will help bring these policy priorities to life by developing innovation in the insurance sector and helping improve the sector’s social impact. 

Insurance innovation expert Tom Hoad will lead the collaborative industry initiative, which will focus on bringing forward solutions to new and emerging risks in a fast-paced and interconnected world – driven by a changing climate, disruptive technology, macro-economic uncertainty, shifting demographics, and geopolitical pressures.

Tom Hoad, Head of Howden Ventures, said: “Innovation is all about working together and, for the first time, Howden Ventures will assemble the most innovative thinkers in the insurance ecosystem to help solve some of the world’s most critical risks. Combining the Managing General Agent (MGA) model with insurtech innovation provides the ideal platform to foster collaboration, and to merge external talent, fresh thinking, new technology, funding, and underwriting capacity. By doing so Howden Ventures is aligning interests from all corners of the market to create an economic model that will help the insurance industry invest in the type of long-term, innovative solutions that clients are looking for.”

David Howden, CEO, Howden, added: “MGAs are the innovation dynamite of the insurance industry.  Cyber insurance, insurance for renewables, D&O insurance... they were all born in the MGA marketplace where capital meets innovative and entrepreneurial talent and capacity providers can be part of critical R&D that clients are crying out for by sharing the risk.  I always say that the insurance industry needs to remain relevant to its clients and that is Howden Ventures' job: to supercharge innovation by bringing great talent and quality capacity together with a turnkey platform to solve the big problems.”

Dawn Miller, Commercial Director, Lloyd’s, added: “Howden’s new commercial mechanism is a great example of industry collaboration which leverages the Lloyd’s market’s ecosystem of innovation and the MGA model to fast track new solutions. We’re proud to be able to bring people together through the Lloyd’s Lab to solve complex problems and find solutions to help our customers tackle critical risk management challenges and become braver, smarter and more resilient.”

Howden Ventures also concluded its first investment in CetoAI, the maritime technology company combining data analytics, engineering excellence and artificial intelligence to manage machinery breakdown risk in global shipping with predictive maintenance. 

With Howden’s investment, CetoAI’s suite of solutions will allow ship owners, operators and insurers to use live data to reduce machinery breakdowns, increase vessel utilisation rates, understand operational risk in more detail and reduce performance related emissions, aiding the transition to the low carbon economy.

Tony Hildrew, Founder & CEO, CetoAI, said: “We are delighted to welcome Howden as an investor in CetoAI. Their financial contribution and unparalleled network, including some of the largest ship owners across the maritime sector, will support our significant growth ambitions as we continue to bring fresh thinking to the maritime market. The funding, underwriting capacity and expertise that we can access through Howden Ventures is unparalleled and will allow CetoAI to address the emerging risks faced by clients as vessels become larger, more connected and technologically advanced.”

Daniel Whiteside, Global Head of Marine, Howden, added: “Our investment in CetoAI is the perfect example of the power of insurance to drive market innovation and the development of new products that address climate risk and resilience. With Howden’s support, CetoAI can draw upon the best minds and expertise that the specialty insurance market has to offer as it solves some of the greatest challenges facing the maritime industry.”