As Sarah Bratton begins work leading GCube in Houston, we decided to sit down with her to understand more about her ambitions for GCube’s expanded presence in the region, and why it’s so important that the company continues to grow in the US.
Tell us about your experience in the insurance sector
I joined GCube in June following various underwriting positions with Ascot Group, including Excess & Surplus Underwriter and Energy Excess Liability Underwriter.
At Ascot I gained a lot of experience in energy and power generation insurance, and mostly worked underwriting casualty insurance coverage for oil and gas risks. With many oil and gas companies shifting their focus to renewables, I see my new position at GCube as the perfect next step.
I’m very excited to be joining GCube during the current period of vast growth across the renewables sector. I will be working remotely in the Houston area and supporting brokers in the US and Canada. I’ve always viewed GCube to be the leading specialist renewable energy insurer, and I’m honoured to be heading up the company’s new presence in Houston.
Why is it important that GCube expands its presence in Houston?
Texas is rapidly becoming the ‘Wall St of renewables’, and many of our clients and brokers are based there. It makes sense to have an office there, especially in the face of significant challenges to the sector.
GCube reported last year that extreme weather damage to solar infrastructure throughout the 2010s resulted in millions of dollars in losses and accounted for half of all extreme weather claims across the decade. Just a few months ago, the US was grappling with record temperatures and extreme weather, and the situation that we saw in Texas with extreme heat was a picture-perfect example of the transforming risks for the entire energy landscape.
The hail losses experienced in Texas in early Summer 2022 resulted in solar losses estimated in excess of $300 million – almost twice as severe as the other key renewable losses of the last three years combined, and close to ten times as severe as losses from 2020’s Hurricane Hanna. More recently, infrastructure across Florida suffered immense damages from Hurricane Ian.
I see my appointment and GCube’s move into the region as a timely reminder that the industry continues to face new and evolving risks. GCube’s Houston move is about putting more ‘boots on the ground’ to support clients and brokers as new risks continue to change and challenge the sector. The plan is to build the company’s presence in the region to a team of four, within the first 12 months, and then build it out further from there.
What do you think the benefits of expanding into Houston will be for the company?
Earlier this year the company opened offices in Sydney and Madrid to ensure all its clients and brokers in the APAC region can access the highest quality network of expertise. Houston is another step in GCube’s current campaign of global expansion to its our customers’ needs.
It’s also about attracting and investing in the best talent from around the world. GCube has embarked on a campaign of investment in recruiting and developing the best renewable energy underwriters. Moving to Houston will unlock new pools of talent, and the company has already begun hiring graduates into its other US offices.