Contact person: Aimee Eichelberger
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The Digital Insurer Insurance Innovation Award
With the proliferation of viruses like Zika and Avian Influenza, coupled with the reappearance of previously dormant outbreaks like Measles and Cholera, as well as the latest resurgence of Ebola in the Congo (https://www.wired.com/story/an-ebola-vaccine-gets-its-first-real-world-test/), the global health community is reviewing processes, interventions and solutions for ways to manage and mitigate epidemic risk.
Beyond the impact to human life, epidemics pose a serious threat to economies. The Zika virus may end up costing Latin America and the Caribbean up to $18 billion (https://news.un.org/en/story/2017/04/554892-zika-could-end-costing-latin-america-and-caribbean-18-billion-un-report-finds). Across the world, the South Korean MERS outbreak resulted in a 40 percent drop in tourism in Seoul. The Ministry of Culture, Sports and Tourism said more than 100,000 people had cancelled trips and estimated that the country loss was $900 million in revenue (https://www.theglobeandmail.com/news/british-columbia/whats-the-economic-impact-of-the-mers-outbreak-in-south-korea/article25031999/).
SF-based Metabiota was founded by Dr. Nathan Wolfe, who is renowned for his work tracking viruses in remote parts of the world, and was named to the Time 100 Most Influential People. Dr. Wolfe evolved from a scientist to an entrepreneur as he saw a desperate need for a better way to support and mitigate a health crisis. To that end, Metabiota’s research shows that outbreaks like Measles, Zika and Avian Influenza are not one-off scenarios but are actual events that illustrate distinct patterns. To that end and like risk from natural disasters, they can and should be insured so that resources, financing and other support can be set up to offset the impact.
Metabiota is working with global leaders like Marsh, a global leader in insurance broking and innovative risk management solutions, MunichRe, a leading global reinsurer, African Risk Capacity and In-Q-Tel, Inc. (IQT), the strategic investor that accelerates the development of technologies to support the U.S. intelligence community, to help countries, as well as industry and governmental organizations, prepare for a capital event and thus mitigate the potential for significant losses from pandemics. By quantifying exposure to potential losses from large global health events, the global community can better prepare and react to these events.
In collaboration with Marsh and MunichRe, Metabiota was part of the team that helped launched PathogenRX, the first insurance solution of its kind that provides financial protection to the global operations of US-based businesses affected by an infectious disease outbreak. PathogenRX uses triggers like Metabiota’s new Pathogen Sentiment Index, which provides extensive analytics into infectious disease outbreaks, to help businesses more confidently model their potential financial loss from an outbreak and protect against the threat through an insurance policy underwritten by Munich Re. The policy is highly customizable and can be tailored to provide coverage for specific expenses, geographies, types of disease, or portions of a calendar year.
Metabiota's Index is designed to be flexible and can be quickly updated to incorporate new pathogens, including newly emerging diseases. It is regularly updated to reflect potential developments that can influence public fear, like the development of a new vaccine or the discovery of a new disease symptom. The Index has been extensively tested and validated against over a decade of media reporting on historical infectious disease outbreaks.
With PathogenRX, Metabiota and team are pushing the boundaries of insurability and businesses can now can better prepare for the potential of an epidemic or pandemic with a highly customizable risk modelling and transfer solution.
“Infectious disease outbreaks can inflict enormous social and economic disruption and public fear and panic can only magnify those disruptions,” said Bill Rossi, CEO of Metabiota. “Until now, that risk has been difficult to measure. By providing a comprehensive and objective methodology for quantifying the potential ripple effect of epidemic risk, we’re able to provide the insurance industry with the tools to underwrite risk and deliver polices to protect countries and corporations from financial blowback.”
Metabiota’s international footprint includes operations in nearly 20 countries and offices in San Francisco, Canada, Sierra Leone, Cameroon and the Democratic Republic of the Congo. For more information, visit http://www.metabiota.com - and for a video demo of the product, please visit: http://metabiota.com/product-video.