Corvus Insurance has been part of the industry for about five years now. After growing considerably in the US, it is aiming for international expansion.
“We’re moving from being a very US-centric to being very international, surfing the UK, Australian, South African as well as the US markets,” explained Vincent Weafer (pictured), the chief technology officer at Corvus for more than a year now.
Corvus is a Boston, Mass.-based MGA that offers what it terms as “smart commercial insurance” products informed by AI-driven risk data. It aims for the small-to-medium sized business market, with coverage options including cyber, tech E&O, cargo and reinsurance.
Some key acquisitions are enabling that expansion, including the company’s January 2022 acquisition of London, UK-based Tarian Underwriting Limited from Beat Capital Partners Ltd. – a cyber underwriting platform that works on behalf of a consortium of Lloyd’s syndicates. The company has since been rebranded as Corvus Underwriting Ltd. In May 2021, Corvus acquired Wingman Insurance, the maker of a tech platform for admitted cyber and technology E&O coverage in all 50 states and Washington, D.C.
Launched in 2017, Corvus is named after a class of birds that includes crows, ravens and rooks – all known for exceptional intelligence. The company now employs 250 people and it has raised $162 million in venture capital financing to date.
It currently works with 28,000 policyholders. Corvus also has 6,800 brokers and counting.
The Corvus CrowBar is one of the company’s primary platforms and it’s targeted to brokers and Corvus policyholders. The “crow” part of the name follows the company’s smart bird theme.
The goal, Weafer said, is to make the platform as easy as possible in terms of communication and use. It supports APIs, emails and also assists users via portal access – so all can tap into data and the data analytics that Corvus provides.
Brokers “get a lot of very rich insights on their policyholders,” Weafer said, noting they can see how Corvus rates and evaluates risks and how they change over time. Policyholders also get to view the generated insights, data and recommendations.
“We want to make that as visible and as transparent as possible, so that the brokers who are part of this conversation can also work with their policyholders to provide that remediation insight,” Weafer explained. “Our goal is to keep the brokers in the conversation so they’re aware of everything that we’re saying, and that they’re also enabled and empowered to have their own conversations.
Machine learning and data
The platform relies heavily on machine learning and analytics to generate the investment it provides at a high level, Weafer said.
“We’re constantly analyzing thousands of vectors in terms of information,” he explained. “Our goal is to render data in a way that’s digestible, understandable by the policy owner who could be a small business, and by the broker who may not be a specialist in this area, so you have to make it as simple as possible.”
Underwriters also have a stake in the game.
“They need to understand what their risk is, and how they view that risk,” Weafer said. “All of our machine learning that we use … is then brought back into what we look at. It’s very digestible and very easy to understand risk insights that [are provided] back to them.”
The idea is that, over time, the platform enables updates and tweaks to adapt to risks as they evolve.
“Our philosophy is we continually keep that conversation going with the policyholder,” he said. “Throughout the life of the policy, if we see a new risk and we see any additional things, we can indicate that there may be a new vulnerability or there may be a new misconfiguration. As we see those, we will send out alerts … and we’ll be very specific.”
COVID and growth
Corvus has seen steady, and even rapid, growth during the pandemic. But that growth is indirectly connected, Weafer said, with so many employees working from home changing the risk calculous Corvus deals with.
“COVID has accelerated work from home, for all of us,” Weafer said. “We all know that, but what that means is the perimeter is very different.”
Translated, that means company networks and systems now have additional exposure from people working from home who are now exposed to machines that may have other software running on them, and that leaves Corvus and others who insure businesses with more to worry about.
“We have to think about the risk of what’s running on those machines, what services and software they use to access their corporate network, how protected are those services and software and does it change the conversation in terms of how you look at risk and how you think about us,” Weafer said.
He added small businesses are thinking more about cyber insurance, ransomware, and appropriate coverage and risk management as a result.