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Neptune Flood acquires startup founded by Google data scientist

Mark Parker



Neptune Flood continues bolstering its artificial intelligence and machine learning capabilities to create more accurate and efficient flood risk assessments. Image: IT Chronicles.

St. Petersburg’s Neptune Flood recently acquired Charles River Data (CRD) to enhance its artificial intelligence-driven underwriting system, Triton, by incorporating the Boston-based firm’s advanced analytical and modeling capabilities.

Two former Google and Boston Consulting Group (BCG) data scientists left positions at their prominent companies to launch CRD in 2021. Neptune uses artificial intelligence (AI) and machine learning to process over 30,000 quotes daily, and is now the nation’s largest private flood insurance company.

Trevor Burgess, CEO of Neptune, said CRD’s background in big tech and academia will bolster the company’s ability to predict flood risks efficiently and accurately. He said the overarching goal is to create a marketplace that offers consumers fair prices while preventing the global insurance industry from losing “a ton of money.”

“It’s a really exciting acquisition and something that a small company from St. Petersburg, Florida, doesn’t always get to do,” Burgess told the Catalyst. “Being able to buy a data science consulting firm with that talent and experience will enable us to really fast forward the work we’ve been doing.”

Trevor Burgess, CEO of Neptune Flood.

Burgess said the industry once thought a private company could not underwrite flood insurance. The U.S. Treasury-backed National Flood Insurance Program was the only provider for over 50 years.

Neptune began providing a private alternative six years ago by utilizing AI and machine learning to create a complex flood modeling system. The technology has advanced exponentially, and Burgess said he realized the company needed “very specialized talent” to keep pace.

He explained that the models incorporate myriad factors ranging from elevation to fluid dynamics to predict each home’s flood risk. Burgess said the underlying technology is performing better “than anyone expected.”

However, that success hinges on Neptune’s ability to process massive amounts of data. “That’s where the Charles River team came in,” Burgess said.

Burgess met Mike Dezube, CEO of CRD, when the two worked together at Google. Dezube is now Neptune’s chief data science officer.

He co-founded CRD with Gleb Drobkov, formerly a BCG consultant. Drobkov will serve as Neptune’s chief strategy officer.

“We are thrilled to join Neptune and contribute to a platform that is transforming an industry through data and AI,” Dezube said in a prepared statement. “Our expertise in data science aligns seamlessly with Neptune’s vision of accuracy and efficiency in underwriting flood risk, and together, we will bring the industry forward, setting new standards as we go.”

Burgess called the company a unique use case for AI and machine learning. He hung a “No Humans” sign in the software programming office in 2018.

Burgess said that underscored the mission to create a technological system that performed better than humans. “We’ve been able to do what we set out to do,” he added.

The industry has taken notice of Neptune’s capabilities. The local company reached $200 million of premiums in force in October 2023, about five years after Burgess took control and established a strategic plan.

The former CRD team will visit St. Petersburg next week to “push some new code” with the company’s current software engineers. Burgess said the city is now home to the “most cutting-edge work in insurance technology.”








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