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Descartes Underwriting and ICEYE Announce Partnership to Propel Parametric Insurance Product Design with Advanced Flood Observation Technology

By Doug Messier
Parabolic Arc
October 20, 2021
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HELSINKI, October 20, 2021 (ICEYE PR) – ICEYE, a leader in persistent monitoring and provider of flood hazard data today announced a partnership with Descartes Underwriting, the largest independent parametric-specialized firm. The collaboration will push the frontier of flood risk modelling and parametric insurance by combining Descartes’ ability to incorporate state-of-the-art technology into its parametric insurance product design with ICEYE’s innovative synthetic-aperture radar (SAR) flood data and monitoring capabilities. Leveraging ICEYE’s multi-source flood insights, Descartes will be able to establish precise parametric triggers for a larger global client-base and make swift claims payment based on exact client locations within a flood event.

Floods rank among the most costly and recurrent natural hazards across all regions of the world. Compounded by climate change, flood risk has also proven increasingly challenging to model and insure. Accurate assessment and data coverage for areas with granular elevation changes, or rapidly expanding impervious surfaces, pose technical hurdles for insurers. Data loss and inaccuracies during flood events, due to the inherent vulnerabilities of physical flood gauges and sensors, can also prove especially challenging for insurance pricing and claims processing. The partnership between Descartes Underwriting and ICEYE seeks to address these pain points.

With a growing fleet of SAR satellites in orbit, ICEYE can provide insurance companies with a verifiable method of measuring flood depth globally in near real-time. The solution, which combines ICEYE’s SAR data with measurements from auxiliary sources, can enable insurance companies to provide parametric coverage for flood events at any location in the world. The global coverage of ICEYE imagery also allows the expansion of parametric insurance policies into regions and geographies where data limitations impeded previous coverage.

Sébastien Piguet, Co-founder & Head of Underwriting at Descartes Underwriting: “We consider access to accurate data, provided by an independent third party, to be a prerequisite for all parametric insurance contracts. We are thus delighted to partner with ICEYE to advance the frontier of parametric flood insurance and expand our offering to a wider geographic client-base based on ICEYE’s data.”

Lisa Wardlaw, Global Head of Insurance Solutions at ICEYE: “The climate crisis calls for a revolutionary approach to insurance that fuses science, data and finance. We are proud to partner with Descartes, a company that shares our commitment to innovation. Our unique global flood monitoring solutions consistently provide data on whether a given parameter has been met or exceeded at any location worldwide. By reporting on such activity quickly and effectively, ICEYE is enabling flood monitoring that has been impossible until now.”

About Descartes Underwriting

Offering a new generation of technology-driven parametric insurance, Descartes collaborates with brokers to protect their corporate and public sector clients against the full spectrum of natural catastrophe and extreme weather exposures, including flood. Descartes’ covers are uniquely designed to supplement gaps left by traditional insurance, providing cost-effective and fully transparent products that guarantee liquidity via swift and direct payout. Born out of the conviction that climate change calls for a revolutionary approach to insurance, Descartes is structured as an MGA backed by a panel of tier-one risk carriers and can provide $200M USD in capacity per policy. Headquartered in Paris, Descartes Underwriting provides parametric solutions to clients globally from its offices based in Singapore, Sydney, New York, Houston, and London. For more information, please visit


ICEYE delivers unmatched persistent monitoring capabilities for any location on earth. Owning the world’s largest synthetic-aperture radar constellation, the company enables objective, data-driven decisions for its customers in sectors such as insurance, natural catastrophe response and recovery, security, maritime monitoring and finance. ICEYE’s data can be collected day or night, and even through cloud cover. For more information, please visit