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DETERMINING THE UNCERTAIN Nir Kossovsky has long been fascinated by uncertainty, and it’s a passion that’s brought him a long way After setting a goal to experience the best his university had to offer, Kossovsky immersed himself in the philosophy of science, an interest driven by his passion for epistemology, the study of how we know what we know. The notion of grappling with uncertainty became an emergent theme for Kossovsky “When one asks, ‘How do we know what we know?’, there’s an implied level of uncertainty in one’s knowledge”




BEGINS MBA PROGRAM His success in securing funding exposed Kossovsky to a non-academic mindset, so he undertook an MBA to strengthen his knowledge base in hopes of leveraging his medical know-how

“My first class, the professor was discussing basic concepts of marketing. I was taking lots of notes, and one of my classmates leaned over and asked, ‘What are you writing? You’re really clueless! You are definitely going to get your money’s worth out of this program!’” 2005 MEETS BUSINESS PARTNER At a social club known as The Intangible Asset Finance Society, Kossovsky met his future business partner, insurance industry veteran Peter Gerken. Gerken’s interest in developing novel insurance solutions dovetailed with Kossovsky’s skill set “He was looking for ways to insure intellectual property rights and other intangibles; I had a mathematical model for pricing intangibles and other forms of uncertainty. That became a foundation for conversations”

2012 WINS BACKING FROM LLOYD’S Approached by a Lloyd’s syndicate, Steel City Re was able to enter the insurance space “It was evidence that we were no longer working at the fringes, but rather were focused on a mainstream market need and could attract the attention of the leading thinkers in the industry”


BECOMES PROFESSOR; RAISES $1 MILLION An MD from the University of Chicago, followed by a residency at Cornell, culminated in an associate professorship at UCLA, a tenured position Kossovsky held for a decade. Ever the innovator, Kossovsky was issued 20 patents while at UCLA. Having raised his first million for research in 1987, he became accustomed to sourcing commercial backing “Private equity-funded research for the purpose of creating commercial opportunities – that aligned with my passion for finding ways to leverage my medical experience for a multiplier effect”

1998 BECOMES CEO OF THE PATENT & LICENSE EXCHANGE Armed with his MBA, Kossovsky brought new understanding to the deficiencies in the patent and licensing process, applying the Black-Scholes financial model to address the gap between sellers and buyers “The university priced their intellectual property highly, while investors priced it low; that gap was usually extremely difficult to close. [The Black-Scholes model] turned out to be an attractive solution. Many found it an exceedingly useful tool for pricing intellectual property”


OPENS DOORS TO STEEL CITY RE Together, Kossovsky and Gerken founded Steel City Re, a financial services intermediary that provides businesses with quantitative solutions for measuring, controlling and assuring the value of reputation “Ultimately we bought to bear [Gerken’s] concepts of actuarial modeling for insurance products and our concepts of mathematical modeling of human behavior, and that gave rise to the math that underpins Steel City Re”

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28/10/2016 2:41:41 AM

Insurance Business America issue 4.11