Jerusalem Venture Partners (JVP) and Margalit Startup City New York announced a new "ClimateTech insurance" collaboration with the corporate venture arm of Australia and New Zealand's largest general insurer, IAG Firemark Venture, to develop technologies and discover startups that could measure and mitigate climate change risks.
"As extreme weather conditions and climate change are increasingly impacting the livelihood of individuals worldwide, insurance companies are actively searching for new technologies, including AI predictions and analytics, with the aim of providing secure coverage for challenging climate conditions," explained Erel Margalit, founder and chairman of JVP and Margalit Startup City.
The collaboration will operate out of the International ClimateTech Center in Soho, New York. Over 500 American, European and Israeli startups from the insurance, financial, cyber, food and agriculture technology communities have participated in the center's accelerator program to develop and scale technological solutions to climate change in urban landscapes.
JVP said that three companies already operating out of the center will play a critical role in the partnership: Earnix, a provider of intelligence operations for insurance and banking; Greeneye, an AI-driven startup revolutionizing pest control in agriculture; and Dryad, which provides early forest fire detection, as well as health and growth monitoring solutions for public and private forests.
By combining IAG's resources, investment capabilities and industry expertise with the existing partners, JVP said it hopes to "nurture and propel" new technologies that reshape the insurance industry's approach to risk assessment. In addition, the partners plan to offer solutions to help insurers achieve their global energy, environmental and sustainability goals.
The focus on artificial intelligence
A particular focus will be on artificial intelligence and analytics to determine new risks directly impacting the insurance industry - consumers and providers.
JVP pointed out that "extreme weather events like hurricanes, floods, wildfires, and droughts have become more frequent and severe, leading to increased property damage, crop losses and business disruptions. Consequently, insurance companies face higher claims payouts and increased financial risks."
A 2020 United Nations report highlighted a "staggering rise" in extreme weather events over the past two decades. Specifically, climate-related disasters jumped 83% from 3,656 between 1980 and 1999 to 6,681 between 2000 and 2019. These included floods, severe storms, droughts, wildfires and heatwaves.
"As an insurer, we see first-hand the impact climate change is having on our customers, communities, business and industry," said Scott Gunther, a general partner of IAG Firemark Ventures, added. "For this reason, IAG Firemark Ventures has ClimateTech as a key startup investment focus area for the future and why we have entered into this important partnership."