Winds of change: From weather research to weather insurance

Winds of change: From weather research to weather insurance

Winds of change: From weather research to weather insurance The road to Robert Holmes’ insurance career was not your typical, run-of-the-mill path.

A former research meteorologist at the University of Wisconsin - Madison, Holmes studied the weather and climate of Antarctica, installing and maintaining automatic weather stations across the continent, including the South Pole. As a researcher, Holmes received various accolades from the National Science Foundation and the US Navy, as well as the honor of having a geographic feature, Holmes Ridge, named after him by the US Geological Society.

After leaving academia, Holmes spent over a decade providing weather risk management solutions with a private sector company before ultimately seeing the opportunity to serve customers through his own agency; so in 2011, Spectrum Weather and Specialty Insurance was born. 

“When Spectrum started six years ago, we vowed to be a company that would be laser-focused on customer service,” he said.

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Nowadays, Holmes serves a range of industries, primarily fairs, festivals, concerts, other outdoor events and snow removal businesses.

According to Holmes, educating customers is the greatest challenge he faces when advising on weather risks.

“As weather insurance is not a required purchase for most of our clients, we spend a great amount of time and resources educating the consumer on the benefits of weather risk mitigation,” he said.

Offering coverage options such as cumulative rainfall coverage for events, and snow insurance that protects snow-sensitive cash flows that are exposed to an excess of snowfall, Holmes focuses on the impact adverse weather can have on an enterprise to create customer-driven solutions.

“While we have embraced certain technologies, such as online quoting and binding of coverage, we also make sure that we are available to answer questions or address any client needs,” he said.
“A large part of this approach is to attend a large variety of conventions and conferences, and support those organizations through membership and sponsorship. It is also a wonderful opportunity to shake hands with our clients and meet potential clients as well. Bottom line: we enjoy the opportunity to meet our insured and getting to know them.”

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