robOriginally published in Insurance Business Magazine.

Find your niche and think big – that’s the advice of ex-research meteorologist Robert Holmes who had since made waves in the specialty weather insurance space.

Holmes is the brainchild behind Spectrum Weather and Specialty Insurance, one of Insurance Business America’s Elite Brokerages of 2017.

Celebrate excellence in insurance. Nominate a worthy colleague for the Insurance Business Awards!

We caught up with him to discover more about our insurance weather man:

How did you get started in the industry?

After earning B.S. and M.S. degrees in Atmospheric Science from the University of Wisconsin-Madison, I began my professional career as a research meteorologist at the Space Science and Engineering Center, University of Wisconsin-Madison, studying the weather and climate of Antarctica. During this time, I made nine trips to Antarctica for field research, earned awards from the National Science Foundation and the US Navy, and was honored by the United States Geological Survey with the naming of the Antarctic geographical feature, “Holmes Ridge”. I also published several research papers on techniques to improve weather forecasting for remote areas of Antarctica.

In 2000, I left academia to work in the newly emerging weather risk management industry, accepting a position as a product manager at Aquila Inc., a commodity trading firm in Kansas City, Missouri. After a two-year employment at Aquila, I took on the role as vice president at GuaranteedWeather, a company created by several of my former Aquila colleagues, to meet the weather risk management needs of clients in a variety of industries. In 2009, I created the Vortex Insurance Agency, as a wholly owned subsidiary of GuaranteedWeather, in order to facilitate the sale of weather-based insurance policies.

After more than a decade of providing weather risk solutions to some of this country’s largest corporations, and providing weather insurance to small-town festivals, fairs, concerts, and other outdoor events, I decided that I could provide a better customer experience through my own brokerage, and, in 2011, Spectrum Weather and Specialty Insurance was born. Spectrum offers a variety of weather-related insurance products including rain insurance and event cancellation coverage. Spectrum operates as an independent brokerage, locating the best risk mitigation tools available on behalf of its clients. Since its inception, Spectrum has grown to be the largest independent broker of weather insurance in the country.

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