Descartes Underwriting Raises $18.5M to Support Global Expansion

Cathay Innovation and Serena co-lead series A funding round joining existing investor BlackFin Capital Partners.

(Image source: Descartes Underwriting homepage.)

Descartes Underwriting, a Paris-based InsurTech specializing in climate risk modeling and data-driven risk transfer, announced that it has raised $18.5 million in a series A funding round by venture capital firms Serena (Paris), Cathay Innovation (San Francisco) and BlackFin Capital Partners (Paris). The fresh round of capital comes 18 months after raising $2.5 million in seed funding from BlackFin Capital Partners. The new financing will be used to support Descartes’ global expansion to the United States and Asia.

René Descartes (1596–1650), French philosopher, mathematician, and scientist, and namesake of Descartes Underwriting.

Descartes Underwriting vaunts a mission disrupting the insurance industry by scaling up parametric insurance, leveraging new technologies and data science to challenge traditional insurance models. Founded by a team of experienced insurers and reinsurers, Descartes says it works with corporate brokers to design and underwrite innovative, bespoke and affordable insurance solutions. The company reports that within 18 months, nearly 100 corporations globally, including Fortune 500 companies and governments, have already chosen Descartes to build resilience in the face of climate change and other natural catastrophes.

“This is a good time to further expand our footprint,” comments Tanguy Touffut, CEO and Co-founder, Descartes Underwriting.  “Non-life insurance is going through an existential crisis due to the growing impact of climate change and the Covid-19 pandemic: in addition to large losses, the sector is suffering from a lack of trust. With the support of our partners, we aim at rebuilding customer trust through a new generation of products that are tech-driven, fully transparent and providing swift claims payment.”

Tanguy Touffut, CEO and Co-founder, Descartes Underwriting.

New Offices in New York and Singapore

While headquartered out of Paris, Descartes covers a wide variety of geographies, including Europe, North America, Latin America and Asia, and plans to open new offices in New York and Singapore. Descartes will also use the funds to grow its product range, target larger deals and deepen its tech capabilities and data science team.

“This investment will fully support our ambition to grow and lead the global parametric insurance space in the corporate segment,” Touffut adds. “We are proud to work with Cathay Innovation and Serena, both of which have incredible track records, an entrepreneurship mindset and are the perfect match to support our global development.”

Marie Brayer, a Partner at Serena asserts that, “Descartes Underwriting has the rare potential to offer a good, transparent alternative to a multi-billion dollar industry as well as to provide emerging countries and global industry leaders with options to face global climate change with more resilience. We are really proud to back such an amazingly talented team.”

Jacky Abitbol, Partner, Cathay Innovation.

“Climate change is a massive challenge for many businesses through the world,” comments Jacky Abitbol, Partner, Cathay Innovation. “By providing innovative parametric insurance products, Descartes Underwriting’s experienced team is supporting corporates of all sizes to cope with growing weather-related vulnerabilities. We are thrilled to support Descartes’ visionary management team as they bring their next-gen AI solutions to the global stage. Together, we will make a positive impact on the insurance sector and the world through technology.”

“We are very happy to continue backing Descartes Underwriting and its stellar team which develops truly innovative insurance products for large corporates,” says Julien Creuzé, Managing Director, BlackFin Capital Partners. “Descartes Underwriting is one of the fastest growing InsurTechs, we are glad to see Cathay and Serena joining forces with existing stakeholders to support its global expansion.”

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Anthony R. O’Donnell // Anthony O'Donnell is Executive Editor of Insurance Innovation Reporter. For nearly two decades, he has been an observer and commentator on the use of information technology in the insurance industry, following industry trends and writing about the use of IT across all sectors of the insurance industry. He can be reached at or (503) 936-2803.

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