The wildfire risk is the latest of Lloyd’s “Syndicate-in-a-Box” programme.

Wildfire bushfire

Polo Managing Agency Limited (PMA), Aon and Wildfire Defense Systems have announced Lloyd’s approval for Wildfire Defense Syndicate 1996 to commence underwriting. The syndicate started underwriting on 1 July 2023.

Created under Lloyd’s “Syndicate-in-a-Box” program, Wildfire Defense Syndicate 1996 will focus on providing excess and surplus (E&S) lines property insurance for California wildfire exposed commercial risks.

Wildfire Defense Insurance Services, an existing coverholder at Lloyd’s, already places coverage for wildfire-exposed risks and the approval of Syndicate 1996 will allow it to increase its capacity.

Its founders that that Syndicate 1996 will benefit from the property protection services of Wildfire Defense Systems; its emergency response operations have answered more than 1,200 wildfire incidents in 22 US states and already saved the insurance industry billions of dollars.

“From the initial conversations with the Wildfire Defense team, it was clear they were bringing an innovative plan to market, focusing on loss prevention, and thus allowing them to offer meaningful cover where capacity is limited,” said Jenny Hummerston, director of underwriting at PMA, with whom Wildfire Defense Syndicate 1996 has partnered as its Lloyd’s Managing Agent.

“The professionalism with which Wildfire Defense Systems has approached the Lloyd’s approval process reflects the professionalism they have displayed in over 16 years of service to the wildfire defence operations,” she added.

The Wildfire Defense Systems team is made up of experienced fire scientists, data scientists, PhD mathematicians, project managers, engineers, intelligence personnel, incident ommanders, wildfire officers, and firefighting teams and works 365 days a year to provide this specialist service.

David Torgerson, executive chairman and founder of Wildfire Defense Systems and related companies said: “The Wildfire Defense brand represents the largest private sector wildfire services provider in the US with extensive services and a continuing commitment to reducing wildfire losses throughout the entire insurance industry, including California E&S commercial properties.

“At our core, we are a system of companies, each taking a piece of the equation to create wildfire solutions in a climate change environment. Wildfire Defense Syndicate 1996 is a natural progression of our strategy and passion for sustainable insurance in wildfire-prone regions.”

Harry Jardine, head of property for the MGA segment at Aon’s Reinsurance Solutions, said: “To secure crucial reinsurance and Lloyd’s capital, Aon’s Analytics team – in collaboration with the firm’s specialist brokers – was fundamental in creating the comprehensive view of risk necessary for reinsurers and capital providers to support this new syndicate, while enabling WDS to make better decisions on growing its business.

“Our united approach resulted in the launch of Wildfire Defense Syndicate 1996, which allows WDS to assist its commercial customers to navigate volatility and build business resilience, while promoting sustainability in an everchanging market that is being driven by the uncertainties created by climate change.”

Paul Andrews, Polo’s CEO, added: “The Polo team worked tirelessly to enable the launch of 1996, after being selected by Wildfire Defense Systems, as their strategic partner for this unique Lloyd’s platform.”