Kettle secures funding to extend California wildfire insurance safety net

Reinsurance startup Kettle has snared $25m in Series A funding to expand insurance coverage for those affected by wildfires in California.  

The round was led by Acrew Capital and saw participation from Homebrew, True Ventures, LowerCarbon Capital, DCVC, Valor and Anthemis.

Founded in 2020, Kettle uses advanced deep learning to better protect people from the growing risks associated with climate change, such as wildfires in California. According to data by Calfire, the Dixie and Caldor wildfires in California this year burned over 700,000 acres and destroyed over 1200 structures.

The company’s technology and algorithms use terabytes of data from public and private data sources – including NASA’s MODIS and LIDAR satellites and NOAA weather data – and its neural networks run upward of 140 million model parameters to calculate probabilities of fire damage at the half square mile resolution across California.

Last year, Kettle’s model predicted that the fourteen largest fires – which accounted for 98% of the total damage – were in the top 20% of areas that were most likely to burn over California’s hundred plus million acres.

Kettle COO and co-founder Nathaniel Manning said, “We are thrilled to be helping provide insight and relief to the California insurance market. There are 14 million structures in California, and in 2020 ~11,500 of them burned down, less than .1%. While the risks of wildfire have certainly increased over the past decade, the key is understanding exactly where the risk is. If we can do that, we can bring stability back to the California insurance market.

“Climate change is here, it’s right there in the words – the climate has changed. Now we need to build the best safety net we can to help people recover from these catastrophes.”

Acrew Capital partner Lauren Kolodny added, “When you take a minute to think about it, it becomes very obvious why traditional reinsurers can’t accurately underwrite climate risk — their methodologies look to the past. And our climate is changing in ways that can’t be predicted on the basis of historical data. Kettle is solving a massive, global problem. And we’re so thrilled to deepen our partnership with this incredible team.”

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