Sep 11, 2020

Descartes Underwriting secures $18.5m to push boundaries

Descartes Underwriting
BlackFin Capital Partners
William Girling
2 min
Descartes Underwriting's Series A funding round is a positive development for data-driven insurtech, which has the capacity to revolutionise the industry
French insurtech Descartes Underwriting has secured US$18.5m in a Series A funding round to revolutionise modern approaches to insurance...

French insurtech Descartes Underwriting has secured US$18.5m in a Series A funding round to revolutionise modern approaches to insurance.

The investment was co-led by venture capital firms Serena and Cathay Innovation, which joined prior investor BlackFin Capital Partners. According to Crunchbase’s analysis, this brings Descartes’ total investment to $21m (a seed round 18 months prior was led by BlackFin).

The company, which combines highly data-centric and technology-enhanced operations with an environmentally conscious culture, is a policy provider for leading insurers, reinsurers and associated securities funds.

Seeking superior underwriting results

Named after the famous French philosopher René Descartes, the company was founded in 2018 and states that it was inspired by his influential scientific method to push the boundaries of modern insurance.

In this regard, Descartes Underwriting strives to achieve superior underwriting results through “doubting past beliefs in the insurance industry” and building “strong scientific foundations in [its] modelling work.”

One of its primary beliefs is that lasting change will originate from smaller, startup-sized companies (insurtechs), which possess both the digitally-native skills necessary to flourish in the post-COVID-19 new normal and also the agility to adapt to further changes.

A distinct separation between Descartes Underwriting and other companies in the space are its ‘parametric insurance products’, which pay out according to predefined plans designed around the probability of a certain event occurring.

As Tanguy Touffut, CEO and Co-Founder, told Crunchbase: “With traditional insurance, when a corporation has a claim you can wait more than 18 months to get a payout. It is usually unclear and you have to hire a lawyer to assess, with the claim adjusters, the final amount to be paid. Parametric insurance is a solution for that.”

Ethically improving insurance

The company demonstrates grasp on cutting-edge digital equipment and techniques by using IoT, remote sensors and third-party Big Data partnership in its modelling. 

Although Perceiving that these enhanced data streams in combination with machine learning algorithms have significant disruptive potential, it is equally invested in driving better ethical standards within insurance too.

“Descartes applies the highest underwriting standards to ensure a fair deal between insureds, brokers and risk carriers,” says the company website.

“Ensuring swift claims payment is one of our priorities. We know that claims payment is the moment of truth in the insurance industry and where most players fail due to lengthy claims handling processes and unnecessary legal costs.”

As a company exhibiting the best qualities in the many insurtechs gaining prevalence across the world, Descartes Underwriting has the potential to be a leading figure in establishing a ‘new vision’ for modern insurance.

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Jun 11, 2021

SLK Software: Optimising performance in the digital economy

2 min
Recently featured in our profile of CNA Insurance, we take a closer look at how SLK Software is powering disruption in the digital era

Established in 2000 in Bengaluru, India, SLK Software recognises that fast-paced digital transformation is creating an unprecedentedly fertile period of opportunity for global businesses.

As such, with a firm belief in the power of simplification and automation to yield new and exciting experiences, the company has been challenging the status quo for over 20 years through an approach that is:

  • Relationship oriented
  • Strategically focused on a desired outcome
  • Reliant on automation tech

Believing in purposeful automation

SLK’s specialisation in automation tech is full spectrum: artificial intelligence (AI) and machine learning (ML), Computer Vision, Natural Language Processing (NLP), Robotic Process Automation (RPA), and more, are all part of its core competencies. 

Citing 90% productivity improvements, 30% business growth through better customer experiences, and up to 20x faster go-to-market capabilities, the reasons for its focus are clear.

The company currently serves the banking, financial services, insurance, retirement services, M&A, manufacturing, and supply chain sectors. Solutions offered include:

Accelerating workflow processes

In addition to these services, SLK offers three products/platforms: Avo Assist - RPA, Avo Assure - Test Automation, and Avo Discover - Process Discovery.



The latter is a tool specifically calibrated to enable business users an easy method for capturing document processes. This can occur across any application, with these individual tasks then seamlessly combined for both improved compliance and governance. 

Carol Castelloni, VP of Transformation at CNA Insurance, highlighted this as providing critical support in helping the company meet its business objectives:

“SLK’s Avo Discover tool accelerates how we can document workflow processes, measure impacts on enhancements, and identifies future automation opportunities.” Liberated from having to focus on these process-driven aspects of business, CNA Insurance has been able to refocus its attention on creative problem-solving instead.

Ultimately, this is the most important benefit that SLK brings: it optimises the back end so that clients can channel their energy towards what matters the most, customers.

Read more about SLK Software and CNA Insurance in the June 2021 edition of FinTech Magazine.

Pictured: SLK Software team (source)

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