Aon plc is partnering with software company Skytek to provide real-time monitoring of insurers’ marine risks, identifying accumulations for enhanced underwriting and reinsurance programs.


In an era of mega-ports and ultra-large container ships, re/insurers are highly exposed to risk accumulation during a catastrophe, said Aon in a statement. As a result, the need to monitor vessel movement and estimate cargo accumulation has become a critical part of exposure management and risk selection.


In response, Aon has established a new consultancy based on the Skytek system – supported by the European Space Agency (ESA) – that uses real-time satellite tracking allowing re/insurers to visualize the precise location of their insured risks alongside crucial vessel and cargo information.


Aon said its experts work hand in hand with the re/insurer to then analyze the potential accumulations and make recommendations specific to their portfolio for efficient reinsurance programs and underwriting insights.


“As part of Aon’s commitment to Data & Analytics, this insurtech partnership is focused on using innovative technologies to enhance risk management practices,” commented Christian Silies, head of Marine & Energy at Aon’s Reinsurance Solutions business.


“As part of our development partnership, we will be taking the analysis beyond cargo and hull marine aggregation to also weave in business intelligence functionality using clients’ own data,” he said. 


“The ability to take vast amounts of earth observation and space-based data and create tailored insurance products was inconceivable only a couple of years ago,” said Dr. Sarah Bourke, CEO at Dublin-based Skytek, which was launched in 2000.


“These new products now open up an exciting future for deeper risk insights within the marine re/insurance world and beyond,” she added.


“Aon and Skytek are already developing transparent algorithms to determine cargo exposures at ports in real-time, using the latest earth observation technology alongside the latest artificial intelligence and machine learning techniques,” she said. 


The technology has emerged from a Skytek/Aon research initiative with the European Space Agency. Piera Di Vito, the project’s Technical Officer at the European Space Agency, explained:


“Following the ESA’s support it is rewarding to see a practical application of science to the insurance industry – and in turn supporting ship and cargo owners globally to have confidence in the protection of their assets.”