Howden launches industry's first marine cargo digital trading platform


Howden launches xTrade Cargo with 20 participant carriers

Industry first digital trading platform to transform the oldest specialty class in London

Howden has announced the launch of xTrade Cargo, the first end-to-end digital trading platform dedicated to the oldest specialty class in the London market, which today has taken a significant step forward in binding its first risk in the open market.

This new initiative – which cements Howden’s position as the broker of choice for markets and clients to trade with digitally – launched as a proof of concept in 2019 for Cargo SME business and today provides 20 leading cargo carriers with access to the largest and most complex Cargo risks in the sector. 

Cargo (re)insurance has been written in the London market since 1686, but it has been much slower than other classes of business to adopt to technological change.  xTrade Cargo builds on this urgent, market-wide need for line-specific digital solutions by providing a simple to use digital architecture and settlement system whilst enabling insurer participants to collect, share and integrate standardised risk data into their own pricing and modelling systems.

As a result, carriers are able to undertake a faster and more in-depth analysis and quoting of risk, leading to a more accurately priced and efficient trade, whose cost benefits can be passed onto the end client. Howden is able to capture this richer and more consistently laid out data set to have more informed discussions with carriers in the pursuit of the best solution for its clients.

Howden currently transacts Gross Written Premiums of $160 million ([c.10%] of the total Cargo market in London) which it aims to grow to $200m by the end of 2022. The platform, which is recognised by Lloyd’s for e-placement and will conform to the CDR data standard, is expected to be rolled out across all specialty lines.

Jonathan Eaton, Head of Cargo and Stock Throughput at Howden Specialty commented: “xTrade Cargo is a defining moment in the history of London’s oldest specialty class.  In a market that has historically struggled to effectively adapt to the technology revolution, we have identified a line-specific digital trading platform where we can exchange data with carriers to help them bind complex open market business seamlessly. We’re delighted that a large group of leading capacity providers have been attracted by the significant pricing, speed and efficiency opportunities, the benefits of which can be passed on to their end clients. 

“xTrade Cargo embodies our commitment to use digital technology to connect our clients to our markets and as the industry continues to grapple with how to meet complex risk solutions whilst reducing frictional costs, we’re excited by the potential of this platform and in time, applying its principles to other specialty lines that are in major need of transforming.”

Paul Hillier, Managing Director of Howden’s xTrade platform, said: “As a Group, we have made significant investment into our digital capabilities to create data-driven solutions for our clients.  We are working with a growing number of insurers to achieve this and xTrade Cargo is the next step in our strategy to roll out digital trading across all specialty classes. By delivering structured risk data to insurers in a format they want, our ambition is to become the broker of choice in the emerging digital marketplace.”