Howden acquires parametric catastrophe risk specialist MiCRO – Artemis.bm


Howden, the global insurance and reinsurance intermediary, has announced the acquisition of parametric risk transfer specialist MiCRO (also known as the Microinsurance Catastrophe Risk Organisation), as it doubles-down on the use of responsive risk transfer to support resilience in under-insured communities.

MiCRO launched as an index-based and parametric insurance company established in Barbados and founded by Fonkoze and Mercy Corps, back in 2010 in the wake of the devastating Haiti earthquake of 2010.

Donor capitalised at the time, MiCRO launched with a focus on providing index-based parametric insurance to bring affordable catastrophe cover to people in Haiti.

Quickly its parametric risk transfer structures proved their worth, being triggered after torrential rains and flooding in Haiti in 2011, then again by hurricane Isaac in 2012, hurricane Sandy in the same year, and a number of times since as well, our most recent coverage being in 2020 by tropical storm Amanda.

Over the years, MiCRO has also expanded its product offering, to provide catastrophe insurance that responds to business interruption, to cover additional perils and to new countries.

MiCRO had more than 180,000 active policyholders at the end of 2023, with a significant proportion being women, and smallholder farmers, Howden said in announcing the acquisition today.

Howden explained that the acquisition, “Underlines Howden’s strategy to invest in new solutions that use insurance as a ‘force for good’, in particular in emerging insurance markets, where demand is growing due to the increase in volatile weather events.”

It also reflects its, “Commitment to harness the power of insurance to empower vulnerable populations to become more resilient and adapt to the imminent peril posed by climate change.”

The acquisition is expected to power the expansion of MiCRO’s offering, including the range and reach of its parametric solutions through Howden’s international presence, its access to global markets, plus data and analytics capabilities.

Mercy Corps have now exited MiCRO is part of this acquisition, but it’s expected that ongoing collaboration opportunities will be explored.

Carlos Boelsterli, Chief Executive Officer, MiCRO commented, “MiCRO has achieved remarkable progress in recent years, and as we embark on further expansion, Howden emerged as a natural growth partner. I have been extremely impressed with their long-term commitment to the underserved and they are undoubtedly a business whose actions speak louder than words. In the face of the global challenge posed by climate change, it is essential that we empower marginalised communities with access to the correct insurance cover to cope with the volatility of tomorrow.”

Charlie Langdale, Chair, Climate Risk and Resilience, Howden, added, “At Howden, we firmly believe that the insurance market holds significant potential for fostering resilience among underinsured communities, enabling them to adapt to the future climate landscape, and microinsurance is one of the tools to achieve this. MiCRO’s proprietary data platform and exceptional expertise, both in parametric insurance but also in creating wider access to insurance will help us scale this important capability for those most at risk.”

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