The Future of Insurance Podcast – Wesley Pergament

Co-Founder & CEO, Sola

Season 5, Episode 17, January 30, 2024

Guest Bio

Wesley is CEO and Co-Founder of Sola Insurance based in Atlanta, GA. Wesley comes from a tech background and jumped into the insurance industry at a flood insurance startup where he was tasked with working on the data side with private and FEMA flood maps. Realizing this data was telling us exactly where the damage is, Wesley became obsessed with how data can be used to automatically trigger an insurance claim payout. Sola is starting with supplemental tornado coverage for homeowners but plans to expand into every type of natural disaster to help people cover their deductible and immediate expenses. Sola has already been approved in 15 states as the first ever admitted personal lines parametric product, is fully reinsured through Lloyd’s of London, and has partnered with hundreds of insurance agencies across the Midwest and Southeast.

Highlights from the Show

  • Sola Insurance is a new class of financial insurance products that helps homeowners cover their deductible and immediate expenses after natural disaster events
  • Sola is developing new products that pay period faster and more transparently so they can get back on their feet
    • Right after a disaster, there’s an immediate need for assistance while you wait for a traditional claim to get handled (even if it’s handled quickly)
    • Deductibles have increased across many lines of insurance, with homeowners choosing $2,500 deductibles twice as frequently just over four years ago, which is more than most Americans have saved for emergencies
      • Many homeowners policies or coverages within them have significantly higher deductibles, like for wind or quake
      • The pressure to increase deductibles is only getting worse, as discussed in this WSJ article we mentioned
  • The cost of capital and providing insurance for carriers is going up, with 30% increases in reinsurance
  • The initial product is a Tornado parametric coverage, which is the first time a startup has launched an admitted parametric product
    • They have capacity from Beazley and fronting from Spinnaker
    • They’ve just had their first two claims after the Hendersonville tornado outside of Nashville, Tennessee, and paid both within 60 hours of the tornado touching down
  • They see this as complementary to existing coverage, and have seen a lot of interest and support from independent agents who are looking for ways to create coverage to fill in for increasing deductibles to keep insurance affordable
  • With the original HO policy developed in the 1950s, Sola is trying to create solutions for what risk looks like today
  • Their next priority is Wind & Hail, which is segmented out on traditional HO policies and is a frequent cause of loss
  • Wesley started Sola in the Global Insurance Accelerator in 2021 and is young, along with his co-founders, and they haven’t let that stop them or slow them down in an industry where tenure and tradition continue to carry weight
    • Wesley credits a two things with their success despite their age:
      • An innate sense of curiosity, which helped him to really get into the issues at hand and stay open to learning
      • People can’t deny the work that you’ve done, so the team has ensured they keep delivering and proving themselves, balancing the need to spend time building relationships with delivering tangible milestones and results

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Thank you to our sponsor

This episode is brought to you by The Future of Insurance book series, part of the Future of Insurance thought leadership series (future-of-insurance.com) from Bryan Falchuk.

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