Insuring the Hard to Insure: Centinel's Innovative Approach

Thursday, May 16, 2024

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Centinel, a BTV 2024 Accelerator Startup, Provides Parametric Coverage for Hard to Insure Scenarios

In the field of insurance, where uncertainties reign supreme, Centinel aims to provide peace of mind for insureds facing hard to predict yet potentially catastrophic risks. Using parametric triggers to instigate a payment, Centinel provides automated, easy-to-use, and fully transparent coverage for risks including interrupted utilities, natural disasters, infectious diseases, and more. 

As Founder and CEO, Soton Rosanwo’s passion for disrupting the status quo is palpable, down to the genesis of Centinel. Rosanwo’s vision for Centinel began within a perfect storm: “After a winter storm in 2019 took out power for much of Texas over the course of multiple days, and then a global pandemic raged in 2020, I realized that our relationship with risk is fundamentally changing. From hurricanes to wildfires and beyond, I asked the question, ‘Can we leverage data to make these hard-to-insure risks more coverable?’ The answer is yes, and Centinel was born to do just that.”

Innovating in the Insurtech Space

Prior to deciding to build out Centinel, Rosanwo wanted to know if the data supported the need she had identified. “I launched a study with 400 participants across the country to get the answer to two questions: is there demand for coverage for hard-to-insure risks, and is it economically viable to provide that coverage leveraging a parametric approach? The answer to both of those questions was ‘Yes!’”

With the data on her side, Rosanwo embarked on building the first minimally viable product (MVP) for Centinel’s coverage, focusing on instant payments for extended power outages. In the spring of 2024, Rosanwo joined the BrokerTech Ventures accelerator program to introduce her product to a wide range of insurance brokers, carriers, wholesalers and community partners in order to bring outage coverage to policyholders in need. 

Rosanwo stresses the transparency and simplicity of the parametric approach. At Centinel, there are “no opaque terms, no hidden exclusions, no claims; just simple contracts with open, fair, and transparent pricing.” In fact, Rosanwo’s vision revolves around empowering both individuals and businesses to face uncertain realities with the certainty of transparent risk coverage in out-of-the-box scenarios. 

“Existing parametric insurers predominantly serve businesses and primarily focus on weather-related risks in the agricultural sector. Traditional insurers’ constrained ability to address hard-to-insure risks results in subpar customer experiences. Centinel’s lower-cost, highly automated processes and ability to manage risk exposure enables us to effectively cover hard-to-insure risks.” 

By allowing both an individual or a business to pre-select the amount of risk they’d like covered, it takes the guesswork out of understanding what their payment would be should they incur an event for which they’ve purchased Centinel coverage. This also simultaneously limits the risk exposure for Centinel’s ability to provide the appropriate level of coverage. 

Overcoming Challenges and Building Milestones

"Like any startup, Centinel encountered its fair share of challenges along the way," admits Rosanwo. She highlights capacity, distribution, and product development as key areas of concern. "To overcome these challenges, we leaned into networking opportunities and programs like BrokerTech Ventures," she explains. Rosanwo underscores the importance of mentorship and strategic partnerships, especially amongst other founders, in navigating the complexities of the insurance industry.

While every startup faces challenges, Rosanwo is proud of the milestones Centinel has achieved in the years since commissioning that first study to investigate the need for Centinel. “With the completion of our MVP platform that provides pricing, receives payment, monitors risk, and distributes payouts for power outages across the United States, we have signed three non-disclosure agreements with capacity providers capable of supplying $18M+ in underwriting capital.” In addition, a growing distribution pipeline includes 19 insurance, energy, and financial services companies that are ready to offer Centinel’s coverage to their customers. 

Looking to the Future

Rosanwo is not slowing down any time soon. “Next on our roadmap is to take Centinel's power outage coverage fully to market – first serving small-to-medium sized businesses, then residential policyholders, and then enterprises.” From there, Rosanwo intends to move deeper within the interrupted utilities risk category as well as expanding into Centinel’s other priority categories, including natural disasters, infectious diseases, and event cancellations. 

With the understanding that these hard-to-insure risks are not limited to the United States and North America, Rosanwo continues, “Ultimately, Centinel aims to bring the convenience and efficiency of our parametric solution to people and businesses throughout the world.” 

Get in Touch

For those intrigued by Centinel's innovative approach to insurance, reaching out is just a click away:

Centinel's journey exemplifies the power of innovation in reshaping traditional industries. As it continues to disrupt the insurtech space, Centinel stands as a testament to the transformative potential of data-driven parametric solutions in addressing contemporary challenges.

Thursday, May 16, 2024