Last week Kirsten Shastri and I caught up for a conversation about Life Sciences insurances. For those that don’t know Kirsten; Kirsten is a highly proficient specialised Life Science and Healthcare insurance underwriter. Kirsten is located in London at Beazley UK, where she set up the International Life Sciences offering in 2019, within their London offices.
Kirsten has recently written an article that was published within ‘The Insurance Times’ on the need for specialist wordings to facilitate the Life Sciences industry. I wanted to take the opportunity to have a conversation about the article and to discuss the Life Science insurance sector further.
I would like to take this opportunity to formally thank Kirsten for her time and continued support; Thank you ever so much!
I do hope the reader finds our conversation to be very interesting. I certainly did!
Here is a summary of our conversation:
Simon – I understand that before you started your career as a ‘Life Sciences & Healthcare’ underwriter you studied at UCL (Human Sciences). What was your particular area of study and research?
Kirsten – I structured my degree around Immunology, Anatomy and Physiology and also had the opportunity to learn from dissecting cadavers; not something for everyone, but an amazing insight into the human body!
Simon – What made you decide to utilize your sciences knowledge in the insurance sector?
Kirsten – My degree and experience in the science field paired with thoroughly enjoying the importance of relationship building in the London Market made an underwriting role seem like a perfect fit.
Simon – You’ve obviously spent countless numbers of hours within a laboratory. How has your experience in the lab, as a researcher, helped in your day-to-day dealings with scientific risks?
Kirsten – A laboratory is a very sterile and specific environment which has to be run exactly to protocol. Without working in this environment, I think it would be difficult to conceptualise and understand the critical importance of how they work from a risk perspective. During the COVID-19 pandemic, it has been especially useful to conceptualise how COVID-19 sample testing would work in a laboratory setting, to be able to insure it.
Simon – You had an article published recently in The Insurance Times. This was a very interesting read, I enjoyed your comments. I imagine that you have had many a compliment from our Life Sciences insurance colleagues. Within your article you wrote that “New developments in the life sciences sector require the use of bespoke rather than general liability insurance covers”. I whole heartedly agree with this; we are always willing to provide an educational or consultative approach for Life Sciences and Healthcare enterprises.
Kirsten – Thank you. The Life Sciences industry is constantly evolving. It therefore needs insurance coverage to evolve alongside it and it is integral for underwriters to provide a bespoke offering to this industry and provide the appropriate cover in this field.
Simon – I was wondering if I could ask about any particular experiences you have had, as an underwriter, that might have given inspiration behind the article?
Kirsten – The ongoing COVID-19 pandemic has made it even more critical for face to face (virtual) consultations with insureds and insurance brokers to make sure they are receiving the right coverage. Especially when it comes to brand new products we have seen over the past year being created. We have therefore made this a priority, and it is important to push this message to the wider audience.
Simon – No doubt you’ve spoken about SARS-CoV-2 a lot over the past year. Obviously, it is widely known that the pace of clinical research and the development of technologies has been at a break-neck speed. Considering that we already knew a fair amount above Coronaviruses, as a classification of virus; have you seen, or do you foresee any upscaled increase of claims (human error; product liability; efficacy)?
Kirsten – With innovation comes new risks, so it would be very unlikely we as an industry won’t see claims scenarios occurring at some point. However, the insurance industry’s primary job is to provide cover in case of such fortuitous events occurring, and making sure the insured’s are covered.
Simon Wyndow – All Med Pro – Life Science Specialist