"Technically, one of the most accomplished and respected insurers in the market… opinion counts for a lot when placing insurance policies, with many other insurers asking whether Atrium underwrite the risk."
London Leading Underwriters 2021
Modern life increasingly depends on the services of satellites. Whether it be watching breaking television news from the other side of the world; surfing the Internet when flying across the Atlantic; catching the latest weather forecast; the accurate timing of financial services or the navigation of cars, ships and planes, all rely on satellites. As with other elements of our critical infrastructure, the loss of a satellite can have severe consequences.
The first satellite to be insured was underwritten in Lloyd’s aviation market in 1965. Since that time the growth of commercial satellite services such as satellite television, and the increasing requirement for specialist space knowledge, has seen space insurance develop into its own dedicated class of underwriting at Lloyd’s.
In 2007, Atrium founded the Atrium Space Insurance Consortium (ASIC) with a mission to draw on the strengths of a highly experienced underwriting and engineering team; offer comprehensive, reliable and creative space insurance products and to provide the highest levels of service to customers in the space sector. These capabilities have earned ASIC a reputation of being one of the world’s leading insurers in this specialist market and regular plaudits in the London Leading Underwriter publications.
ASIC comprises a number of Lloyd’s syndicates that have delegated their underwriting authority for space risks to the team at Atrium to underwrite on their behalf. The leading member of the Consortium is Atrium’s Syndicate 609.
Atrium’s space team have extensive experience in satellite engineering, space and insurance law and insurance management. The London-based underwriting team is complemented by our highly-respected engineer based in Ottawa, Canada.
The Consortium provides launch insurance covering the ascent to orbit, deployments, orbit raising, in-orbit testing as well as in-orbit insurance covering the satellite for the ongoing perils faced by all space risks. With few satellites being identical, ASIC considers it vital that each risk be fully evaluated by an experienced satellite engineer prior to being underwritten.
Ambiguities that remain in the coverage design lead to complications and delays in settling a claim in the unfortunate situation of a loss arising. Collaborating with an insurer with the experience and ability to fully comprehend the requirements of the Insured and the entrepreneurialism to craft a bespoke coverage design helps minimise the risk that ambiguities can produce.
“Stand-out underwriters in Aviation and Space are defined by their commerciality, client focus and a desire to proactively work with brokers to develop new business…this line is dominated by Atrium.”
London’s Leading Underwriters 2013
15 years of ASIC
February 2022 marks the 15th anniversary of the Atrium Space Insurance Consortium (ASIC).
Prior to this time, Lee Davis had already been underwriting space risks for Atrium via participation on the Marham (Brit) Space Consortium and SATEC as well as some open market lines. A casual conversation between Lee and David Wade revealed that there may be an appetite to build on this experience. One business plan and a Sauterelle lunch with Christine Dandridge later and ASIC started to take shape.
Whilst David sauntered around on gardening leave for the second half of 2006, Lee worked tirelessly to get the Consortium structure established and the Consortium Agreement finalised. By early 2007 the Consortium was ready to go live with David and Brian Spark joining Lee in London and the engineering team of David Hoffer, Robin Gubby and Beth Grant leaving Telesat to set up the office in Ottawa, Canada. Brian Spark retired in 2009. Emma Cox joined the team in 2014.
The ethos of the Consortium was simple: to use the engineering knowledge of the team to underwrite the best risks to outperform the market. Throughout the prolonged period of softening and sudden market-hardening in July 2019 this basis philosophy of ASIC remained unchanged.
By the end of 2021, the culmination of 15 underwriting years, ASIC had insured the launch of 707 satellites on 232 launch vehicles and covered 370 individual satellites in orbit.
Whilst the market had experienced 90 claims during this period, ASIC’s careful risk selection saw the Consortium exposed on only 35 of these risks, giving ASIC a cumulative loss ratio over the 15 years about 25 points better than the market average.
We start 2022, our 16th year of operation, with the same engineering-focused philosophy. Whilst the risks may change with the introduction of electric orbit raising, software defined satellites, a greater proportion of cubesats, the deployment of constellations, satellite servicing, active debris removal and commercial lunar missions, ASIC’s focus remains firmly fixed on a thorough engineering assessment and careful risk selection as our key underwriting criterion.
Find us at our offices, Room 790 at Lloyd’s
ASIC in the news
- Interested in a career in space? Visit the 4WardFutures Space Careers Expo at https://www.4wardfutures.org.uk/space-careers-expo. Why not stop by the Atrium Space Insurance Consortium exhibition stand whilst you’re there?
- Listen to David Wade, Atrium’s Space Underwriter being interviewed about space insurance for the Insurance Covered podcast (https://www.rpc.co.uk/perspectives/insurance-and-reinsurance/a-look-at-space-insurance-a-podcast-with-david-wade/)
- 1 Night; 2 Rockets; 106 Satellites. Read ASIC’s article on the record for the most number of satellites launched on a single rocket (published 15th February, 2017) here
- Click here to view ASIC’s presentation paper on All Electric Satellites – Insurance Implications
- Click here to view ASIC’s presentation paper on Preparing for the Worst: The Space Insurance Market’s Realistic Disaster Scenarios
- Read an article regard Space Weather and Insurance by David Wade, Atrium’s Space Underwriter, in the Science in Parliament journal, Whitsun 2013, see https://www.scienceinparliament.org.uk/wp-content/uploads/2013/12/sip70-2.pdf
- Watch David Wade, Atrium’s Space Underwriter, being interviewed by Stephen Fry in Stephen Fry’s Key to the City (https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=vay7bqnAcJo)
- ASIC represented Lloyd’s on both the UK Government’s Space Innovation and Growth Strategy assessment and the ScienceWise Dialogue project regarding space weather
- ASIC is a member of the Stakeholder Advisory Committee of the Radsat project (see https://www.bas.ac.uk/project/rad-sat/#about) and previously participated on the Stakeholder Advisory Committee of the SPACESTORM project (see www.spacestorm.eu)
Find out more
To find out what our trusted team of Underwriters can offer you and to find out more about our classes, our agility, and decision-making approach, contact any of our underwriters or call us on +44 (0)207 327 4877.
Should you have a specific claims issue or wish to find out more about our first-class claims support please go to our claims page, for general claims service queries in the first instance please contact your agent or broker.
Meet the team
David Wade ___ Space Underwriter
David joined Atrium in 2007 to head up the Atrium Space Insurance Consortium. He has over 20 years’ experience in the space sector, working in the space industry and space-related academia before joining the space insurance market in 2000. David holds a post graduate degree in Astronautics and Space Engineering and is a graduate of the International Space University.
David has held the position of Chairman of the Lloyd's Market Association (LMA) Satellite Risks Committee and the International Union of Aerospace Insurers (IUAI) Space Risks Study Group (SRSG). He remains an active member of both groups. David also writes the Space chapter of the Chartered Insurance Institute's (CII) Aviation and Space Insurance coursebook.
Year Joined Atrium: 2007.
Deputy Space Underwriter
Lee Davis ___ Deputy Space Underwriter
Lee started his career in Lloyd’s with the JR Charman and Others Syndicate in 1989 before spending nine years with SE Spinney and Others. During his time with the Spinney Syndicate Lee became directly involved with the space account.
Lee joined Atrium in 2000 as Syndicate Operations Manager and managed the Syndicate’s space portfolio, including Atrium’s own space underwritings as well as their participation on other facilities. At the beginning of 2007, Lee moved across to ASIC to take up the position of Deputy Space Underwriter, where he participates in the underwriting as well as the management of the Consortium through his role as Consortium Manager.
Year Joined Atrium: 2000.
Consortium Management & Reporting Assistant
Emma Cox ___ Consortium Management & Reporting Assistant
Emma started her career in insurance with Collegiate Insurance Brokers 1998 and was responsible for account management within the Professional Indemnity market. Emma joined Atrium in 2005 working alongside the Syndicate Operations Manager and was involved in all aspects of the management and reporting requirements of Syndicate 609. She continued her role as Syndicate Management & Reporting Assistant within this department until June 2014 at which time Emma joined Atrium Insurance Agency Limited (AIAL) who in turn manage the Atrium Space Insurance Consortium (ASIC). In the role of Consortium Management & Reporting Assistant Emma will assist the Consortium Manager in all area’s of operational management and reporting required to support the space underwriting team based in London.
Senior Satellite Analyst
David Hoffer ___ Senior Satellite Analyst
David joined Atrium in 2007 from Telesat Canada, the Canadian telecommunications satellite operator. David worked at Telesat Canada for 23 years, working on Telesat’s own satellites as well as consulting for many of the world’s satellite operators, advising on satellite procurement activities as well as monitoring the manufacture, test, launch and operation of satellites. In his role at Telesat, David spent a considerable amount of time working at various satellite manufacturing facilities in the US and Europe giving him an unparalleled insight within the insurance community of the satellite designs that we insure.
For the last 8 years of his career with Telesat Canada, David consulted to the space insurance underwriting community, building an excellent insight into the requirements of the underwriter, alongside his in-depth engineering knowledge.
Year Joined Atrium: 2007.