Countless businesses across industries are profoundly affected by the weather. If rain comes a week early or late, an industrial farm’s entire crop – and revenue stream – can be destroyed. If a snowstorm hits during a busy retail season, a shipper’s profit margins can be slashed. If winter temperatures are higher than usual, a maker of car batteries can see a steep drop in demand. Weather is anything but simple.
The same is true of business – especially when you’re juggling high data volumes and personalized product offerings. As with the weather, the sheer complexity of business can lead to high risk, missed revenue targets, and competitive disadvantage.
Meteo Protect is an innovative insurer that has created a new market in weather risk management. The Paris-based company covers risk related to rainfall, snowstorms, temperature, and virtually any other weather-related condition or event.
It must also deal with a massive amount of complexity. “In the insurance industry, very often times, when you grow, you have processes that become more and more complex,” says Gabriel Gross, the company’s co-founder and CEO. “You have regulatory issues, you have technical issues. In the case of Meteo Protect, we have scientific situations that need to be solved.”
Meteo Protect is meeting and beating those challenges with a fast, stable, and scalable IT infrastructure based on in-memory computing and live data.
Driven by data, speed, and customer need
Six years ago, Meteo Protect was a startup insurer with a clever idea: deliver an insurance product that protects virtually any business in the face of virtually any combination of weather events. Today it’s taking the industry by storm – for example, recently gaining “coverholder” status to access, underwrite, and issue policies in the Lloyd’s of London insurance and reinsurance marketplace.
The company achieved that success based on its ability to quickly and accurately analyze vast streams of data – and use the resulting insights to customize its products to meet individual customer needs.
“So that’s massive amounts of [weather] data, which is growing every day,” Gross explains. “We are performing heavy scientific analysis in real time, potentially everywhere on the planet. … And we are using that to understand better what the risks are for clients and what the risks are for the reinsurers that we work with. And to give a price to each and every policy that we create.”
To capture and analyze such massive amounts of data in real time, the company turned to an in-memory computing platform. “Climate-change analysis on a global scale, customized to the pinpoint of each farmer and each small client, is something that would not be possible without a system that has the performance, the scalability, and the security of the platform,” Gross insists.
Today, analysis that took actuaries one week can now be completed in a fraction of a second. This ability to “run live” has enabled Meteo Protect to extend services to tens of thousands of customers in eight countries around the world in less than 18 months.
Simple for the company, simple for the customer
The benefits of live business also reach the customer. Customers access Meteo Protect’s underwriting platform through their mobile phones. They specify the risk they want to insure and receive a price quote in a matter of seconds. They can fine-tune parameters, time frames, and other details to design a completely customized policy. And they can complete their purchase electronically, obtaining the coverage they need in just minutes.
Their new coverage can transform their business. As one example, Spanish olive growers simply didn’t have weather insurance in the past. “If there was a massive drought, they would just stop doing business,” Gross says.
Today, those growers are protected. Following a temperature spike in spring 2017, Meteo Protect customers received compensation – and were able to remain competitive. “It’s a major game changer for them,” Gross points out. “And it was just not possible without this platform.”
Gross jokes that while “running live” has simplified his business, it hasn’t simplified his life. “Running live … has enabled me to go and see more and more clients and grow the business much faster,” he says. “So in this respect it has not made my life simpler.
“[But] it has made my strategy simpler … because I don’t have to worry about whether we are going to be able to produce what we’re selling,” he continues. “As CEO, my main responsibility is to grow my business without growing my risks. Now, I know that I can do that.”
Learn more about how Meteo Protect’s Gabriel Gross and other leaders are using SAP solutions to help their businesses run live. Watch our exclusive “Leaders Are Live” videos.