Addressing climate risk with new data, diversity & equality – with Violaine Raybaud, COO, Descartes Underwriting

“The industry has evolved but not as fast as the consequence that climate risks have had on economies and large corporates”, says Violaine.

“We are in the right moment to combine both new data capabilities, satellite imaging, connected data sets to those new climate risks in order to really offer something more relevant and more appropriate for today’s challenges around natural risks to corporate plans.”

Following roles with large corporates Axa and Swiss Re, Violiane says the time was right to move in to the insurtech world.

“Moving to Descartes was a bold choice, but I was fully convinced that traditional insurance was ripe to be challenged by new ways of addressing the challenge of the century for our generation.”

Violaine shares the growth Descartes has achieved, opening hubs across the US, Asia and Pacific, South East Asia, Australia, New Zealand and Hong Kong and have recently added offices in London, Frankfurt and Madrid.  

“We have always worked towards building a global book from day one and that’s quite core to the nature of our business. After six months we had risks on all five continents. Hurricanes in the US to floods in Europe, the drought in India to earthquakes in Japan. Our growth is partly fuelled by an increase in the need for protection.”

She explains how Descartes use data in an efficient way in comparison to the often siloed way of corporates.    

“Most traditional insurance companies when it comes to data flows, lack of efficiency.  Our rationale to data will have a massive impact on how quick we can quote a risk. We want to show how responsive we are, how reliable our data is.”

Violaine highlights how the company puts purpose at the very core of the business and building a team that share the same drive and passion.

She shares her advice for senior leaders at interview and her explains how demanding they are when it comes to recruiting technical talent, as well as their drive towards a diverse team.

“We value diversity and having a variety of angles on the topics we are touching. We have been striving to build an international workforce with talents from all across the globe and a diverse workforce in terms of gender equality too and making sure we have a good proportion of female talent in our tech teams.”

As for one lesson her job has taught her that she wants everyone else to know, Violaine says:

“We need to walk the talk, right, and we need to build our culture around strong values that are inclusive at the same time.”

Connect with Violaine Raybaud on LinkedIn or find out more about Descartes Underwriting

The Insurance Coffee House Podcast is hosted by Nick Hoadley, CEO, Insurance Search, the Executive Search Consultancy for growing Insurance and Insurtech businesses around the globe.

To discuss identifying & attracting the very best talent to your team or being a podcast guest, reach out to Nick via nick.hoadley@insurance-search.com

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