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CFC Underwriting on being data led to accurately assess IP insurance risk

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Maddi Brown is the Intellectual Property Practice Leader at CFC Underwriting Ltd, heading up the Intellectual Property Underwriting Team.  With 15 years of experience in Intellectual Property insurance, 7 of those years at CFC, she explains the huge changes the industry has experienced and how Cipher has helped to be data led to accurately assess IP insurance risk and bring it into the mainstream.

How has the Intellectual Property Insurance Industry changed?

When I started, traditional lines of insurance were always the key assets of most companies.  Most businesses would think about office insurance or professions insurance but now, the importance of intangible assets is top of mind. They’re what you are left with when you get up and leave your office. When you boil it down, the value to your business is really the people and the product – so how do you think about protecting those?

The market’s starting to open up and there are more providers for IP insurance, which some wouldn’t think is a good thing, but actually it is. The more competitors that we get in the market, the more people are talking about it, and that’s good all around. Our next challenge will be to make sure that the quality is still there as the market gets busier.

Thanks to Cipher, we can deliver to our clients a quick turnaround, a good service and an efficient service, pricing fairly and delivering premium levels that are palatable to them.

Maddi Brown, Intellectual Property Practice Leader, CFC Underwriting

How do you accurately assess Intellectual Property insurance risk, are you data led?

Before using Cipher it was difficult to truly assess the business. We were making so many more assumptions which means you have to put a weighting on the premium.  We didn’t have all the data we needed and data that we did have was not all in one place.

Historically, IP insurance premiums were exorbitantly high because of the manual, time consuming work that the underwriter did to assess an account and business to get to an end premium. Cipher now allows us access to all of that data in one area and see a reliable data-driven snapshot of the client quickly. That’s been a massive improvement. With Cipher is an additional layer of comfort to assessing a risk, because it gives you much more true data and quicker.


Cipher provides us a snapshot into the current position of the client and that adds real comfort into the exposure.

Maddi Brown, Intellectual Property Practice Leader, CFC Underwriting

How has Cipher helped to accurately assess Intellectual Property Insurance risk?

Cipher provides us a snapshot into current position of the client and that adds real comfort into the exposure. Cipher also adds historic data, as well as the ability to look at technology sectors and areas, so that we can then find out where the client sits.

Also Cipher provides us with dispute litigation data, which is really key to understanding the exposure and the risk for that client. Understanding the exposure by territory e.g. US and Global litigation data, is also really useful for us. The clarity of the data is what I find the most important thing with Cipher, how we can access it and use it, and get to that key information quickly.

How has Cipher data helped you increase confidence in the risk class?

Cipher has allowed us to give comfort in what we’re doing, why we’re presenting terms and why things are set at certain level.  It’s allowed us to add reassurance to the data, the way that we’re rating and the structure that we’re providing, and that that’s made a massive difference to who supports us.

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What Return on Investment has Cipher given you?

Thanks to Cipher, we can actually turn quotes around in 24-48 hours. We can deliver to our clients a quick turnaround, a good service and an efficient service, pricing fairly and delivering premium levels that are palatable to them.  We are able to do that because we’ve got the support of the data from Cipher. So, risks that should be paying a higher premium, are paying a higher premium, and risks that should be paying a lower premium, are paying a lower premium.  This is a huge improvement on where the market used to be, where everybody just paid really high premiums.

Who uses Cipher at CFC?

The IP Team uses Cipher primarily, but it’s also used by our Transaction Liability Team. They love it, as it gives them a quick insight into businesses they’re looking at when they’re taking on intellectual property risk.  By having access to Cipher at CFC, we’re adding a lot of insight and confidence to our lines of business because we have the data.

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