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Insurtech Company, Kettle, Is Using AI to Insure Against Wildfires

·4 min read

Kettle Raises $25 Million Series A Led by Acrew Capital with participation from Homebrew, True Ventures, Anthemis, Valor, DCVC, and LowerCarbon Capital

SAN FRANCISCO, Nov. 19, 2021 /PRNewswire/ -- Kettle, the reinsurance startup that uses advanced deep learning to better protect people from the growing risks associated with climate change, such as California's wildfires, today announced it has been reinsuring homes during the 2021 wildfire season and that it raised a Series A financing round. The $25 million round was led by Acrew Capital, with participation from Homebrew, True Ventures, Anthemis, Valor, DCVC, and LowerCarbon Capital.

CA Kettle Risk Map
CA Kettle Risk Map

Kettle Raises $25 Million Series A Led by Acrew Capital to protect against wildfires.

Kettle is bringing advanced technology to the $400 billion-a-year reinsurance industry, starting with California wildfires. The industry has seen a 68 percent drop in return on equity due to a 3X increase in catastrophes causing more than $1 billion in damage over the past 15 years according to NOAA. In 2021 we saw the Dixie and Caldor Fires in California burn over 700,000 acres and destroy over 1200 structures based on Calfire's data.

Founded by Andrew Engler and Nathaniel Manning, Kettle is structured as a reinsurance Managing General Agent that can underwrite these increasing risks. Kettle is also setting up their own risk-bearing entity. Kettle's Engler has more than a decade of experience working in the insurance and reinsurance industries, most recently as the vice president of digital at the public insurer/reinsurer, Argo Group. Manning spent years working with data for humanitarian efforts as the CEO of Ushahidi, the largest open source software platform for community crisis response, and as the first chief data officer of USAID.

"We are thrilled to be helping provide insight and relief to the California insurance market," said Manning.

"There are 14 million structures in California, and in 2020 ~11,500 of them burned down, less than .1%. While the risks of wildfire have certainly increased over the past decade, the key is understanding exactly where the risk is. If we can do that, we can bring stability back to the California insurance market."

In 2020, Kettle's model predicted that the fourteen largest fires, which accounted for 98% of the damage, were in the top 20 percent of areas most likely to burn across California's hundred plus million acres. In 2021, Kettle's model predicted the areas consumed by the Dixie and Caldor Fires as some of the most dangerous parts of California.

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 upward of 140 million model parameters to calculate probabilities of fire damage at the half square mile resolution across the state.

"When you take a minute to think about it, it becomes very obvious why traditional reinsurers can't accurately underwrite climate risk -- their methodologies look to the past," says Lauren Kolodny, Partner at Acrew Capital. "And our climate is changing in ways that can't be predicted on the basis of historical data. Kettle is solving a massive, global problem. And we're so thrilled to deepen our partnership with this incredible team."

"Climate change is here, it's right there in the words - the climate has changed" says Manning. "Now we need to build the best safety net we can to help people recover from these catastrophes."

About Kettle
Kettle uses deep learning and proprietary algorithms to reshape the reinsurance industry and better protect people from the growing risks associated with climate change. Kettle's first product protects Californians' businesses, homes, and livelihoods with wildfire reinsurance. To learn more, visit ourkettle.com

About Acrew Capital
Acrew Capital is a venture firm that engages in long term partnership with world-class teams uniquely suited to solving big, challenging problems. We believe the best investment decisions are driven by a combination of depth of conviction and diversity of perspective and that investment should be tailored to the specific needs of each founding team. Acrew investment themes include Cybersecurity and Infrastructure Modernized, Financial Services Rebuilt, Work Reimagined, Data Interconnected and Community Activated/Consumer. The Acrew founding team previously worked together at Aspect Ventures. The investing team combines experience from Accel, Brown University, Google, Greycroft, Imperva, StubHub, and Yodlee. Investments by the Acrew team include At-Bay Insurance, Cato Networks, Chime, Divvy Payments, Exabeam, Finix, Pie Insurance, and HotelTonight/AirBnB. Collectively, the Acrew investing team's track record includes 10 IPOs, over 25 successful acquisitions and over 150 rounds of follow-on capital raises, resulting in over $100 billion in market value created and over $1B in returns to our investors. For more information visit www.acrewcapital.com.

Dixie Fire Map
Dixie Fire Map

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