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Meet DUAL Asset Underwriting’s secret weapon when issuing large portfolio insurance policies

“Knowing I would be able to use Orbital Witness was a huge factor in quoting highly competitive indicative premiums to secure the instruction.”

Fergus Davey,
Head of Underwriting Performance

 

DUAL Asset Underwriting is a leading provider of insurance solutions for real estate, probate and corporate transactions. In a UK real estate context, they insure problems or concerns with legal ownership and use of land and buildings.

Fergus Davey is Head of Underwriting Performance at DUAL Asset Underwriting

 

The challenge

“When approached to insure a specific risk (or risks) identified by a buyer, seller or their advisors, we are often faced with many unknowns. The unknown element may exist because information is simply not available or, for a variety of commercial reasons, information is not being produced or provided.

The underwriting process can vary significantly. It may be entirely ‘hands-free’ via online portals or involve detailed interrogation of information, both public and proprietary. The title insurance market is very competitive and historically claim instances have been low (although losses can be severe). Also, because insurance policies are transactional, the individuals involved in arranging the policy may not ultimately have a role in claim management and settlement. These factors contribute to consistent price pressure. DUAL Asset Underwriting are therefore always looking at ways to reduce underwriting cost or add value to the underwriting process.

 

Our solution

“We use the Orbital Witness platform to manage the underwriting process for various queries that come in. In all instances the underwriting process would have been significantly more time consuming without the platform. Also, and importantly, knowing we would be able to use Orbital Witness was a huge factor in quoting highly competitive indicative premiums to secure the instruction.

One scenario involved the purchase of a large real estate portfolio of underground infrastructure. The portfolio was a complete mixed bag; freehold, leasehold, a variety of surface ownership structures, urban and rural, and the sale contracts were in a variety of forms, the land having been acquired over an extended period. The due diligence provided was intentionally limited, largely because of the parties involved and their knowledge of this niche asset class. Still, the purchasers wanted insurance for various property and title issues that would not be covered by seller warranties. Undertaking full due diligence was going to be prohibitively slow and expensive.”

 
“Orbital Witness helped us identify a host of previously unknown risks that we could insure to add further value."
 
Fergus Davey,
Head of Underwriting Performance

 

The result

“Orbital Witness allowed us to quickly review hundreds of titles to offer a solution that plugged that gap and enhanced the buyer position without impacting the deal time at all. Orbital Witness also helped us identify a host of previously unknown risks that we could insure to add further value.

Another example was a very large acquisition of a retail group. The buyers and sellers were both private equity firms based outside of the UK and their due diligence focused on the operational business. The target group owned a valuable UK real estate portfolio. The business was to be sold via an auction and the decision had been made early in the process to only undertake high-level real estate due diligence and to offer the successful bidder and their financiers an insurance solution.

Thanks to Orbital Witness the ability to undertake our own due diligence in a very short time frame meant we could commit to insuring in line with the selection of a successful bid.”

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