Our CEO Ami Daniel described it as a “coming out of the closet” party for Windward Insurance (until I politely suggested we drop the “closet” bit). But our four-day sojourn in London turned out to be so much more.
The week kicked off – as it always does in these parts – on Sunday, before we’d even packed our bags, and back when Denmark and Spain were still in the World Cup. This was the day that the Financial Times broke the news that Windward had raised $16.5m in Series C funding, led by XL Innovate and Marc Benioff, the CEO & Chairman of Salesforce. You can read the full announcement here.
With much of the money raised earmarked to triple spending on our marine insurance products, industry publications quickly followed: The Insurance Insider, TradeWinds, Insurance Times and Intelligent Insurer – to name but four – all ran the story. To reinforce the message, we shared a video interview with Ami on social media. On the Monday, we left for London.
Once there, the pace picked up further. In between meetings, and an interview with the BBC (which we expect to air in the coming weeks), Ami delivered a lecture to Innovate Israel 2018 on Going Deeper with Big Data.
Two days later, he was at it again, this time at the inaugural Marine Insurance London Conference. His keynote address, entitled Go Deeper: Developing Super Models for Marine Insurers, began with James Bond (because you might not insure him if you knew how he drove; ditto for ships); took in modelling vessel operational features; and ended with will.i.am, whose vision of technology augmenting – not replacing – the artist is one we share (though in our case we’re talking about underwriters as the artists, rather than international mega stars!).
A couple more articles followed, with an Insurance Day story on how marine insurers are sailing to the forefront of the insurtech revolution. And an Insurance Insider interview with Ami, and his call for senior marine insurance execs to take a “leap of faith” and embrace analytics if they want to price risk more accurately.
It was, to put it mildly, a manic, not to say, nerve-wracking week. When you’re working on a story, you never really know how things will play out. Back when I was the BBC’s South America Correspondent (2003-2005), I was working on a story on Argentine war vets winning their decades-long battle for greater government benefits. I’d nabbed the interviews. Overseen the edit. It was slated to run on the anniversary of the Falklands War. And then….the Pope died, meaning the story never played on TV (giving rise to the verb, “to Pope”, as in, “my story got Poped”).
Fortunately for us, everything went to plan. I felt relieved and exhilarated: we really couldn’t have asked for better coverage of our fundraising and Ami’s conference keynotes. With several announcements in the pipeline, I’m confident that everyone will be hearing a lot more about Windward Insurance in the future.
Elliott Gotkine is Windward’s Director of Communications