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Kettle raises $25mn in Series A funding, sets sights on wildfires

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Reinsurance MGA Kettle has raised $25mn in Series A financing led by Acrew Capital, with participation from Homebrew, True Ventures, Anthemis, Valdor, DCVC and LowerCarbon Capital.

Kettle has its initial sights on the California wildfire market and has begun reinsuring homes during the 2021 season based on its AI-powered modelling capability.

The firm has incorporated balance sheet entity Kettle Re in Bermuda.

It has said it will not seek a rating and intends to use the funds to write collateralised covers.

The firm has hired a senior team of seasoned insurance professionals, with Amit Shah, former Ariel Re head of specialty, as distribution director based in Bermuda, and Will Haddrell, former manager of property catastrophe retro at Sompo International, as CUO.

Nigel Mortimer, ex-president of Argo Bermuda, has joined as executive chair, and Andrew Engler, former vice president of digital at Argo Group’s digital division, is a co-founder and CEO.

Nathaniel Manning, Kettle co-founder and COO, said: “There are 14 million structures in California, and last year about 11,300 of them burned down. The key to this market is understanding exactly where the risk is.”

The firm said its model this year predicted the areas consumed by the Dixie and Caldor fires would be some of the most dangerous parts of the state. Last year, its predictions of the top 20% of land most likely to burn included the 14 largest fires, which had accounted for 98% of wildfire damage.

Kettle’s technology and proprietary algorithms use terabytes of data from public and private data sources, such as NOAA weather data and Nasa’s Modis and Lidar satellites. Kettle’s neural networks run 140 million model parameters to calculate probabilities of fire damage to the resolution of half a square mile across California.

Lauren Kolodny, partner at Acrew Capital, said: “Traditional reinsurers can't accurately underwrite climate risk if their methodologies look to the past. Kettle is solving a global problem, and we're thrilled to deepen our partnership with this incredible team.”

Acrew Capital’s investment themes include cybersecurity and interconnected data, and it has a track record in IPOs, M&A and follow-on capital raises. The firm’s other investments include At-Bay Insurance and Pie Insurance.

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