SPATIALKEY RANKED ON 2017 TOP COMPANY CULTURES LIST

Posted on February 23, 2017 by Jen Smoldt

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SpatialKey was recently ranked on Entrepreneur's Top Company Cultures 2017 list, a comprehensive ranking of U.S.-based businesses exhibiting high-performance cultures created in partnership with culture management software and service provider CultureIQ®. SpatialKey secured 15th place in the Small Company category of Entrepreneur’s Top Company Cultures list. SpatialKey is recognized for creating an exceptional culture that drives employee engagement, exceeds employee expectations, and directly impacts company success.

SpatialKey builds technology that simplifies how insurers gain insights from information, and is a  pioneer of geospatial insurance analytics in the InsurTech space. Employees and leaders alike value SpatialKey’s unique remote culture, dedication to autonomy, mastery, and purpose; as well as relentless commitment to empowering insight through making data and analytics accessible to their clients.

“Being culture-led is central to our success at SpatialKey and we’re honored to receive this esteemed recognition.” Tom Link, Founder and CEO of SpatialKey explains. “Early on, our founders sought to understand why we had such a tight-knit and dedicated team. It was important for us to discover, articulate, and institutionalize the ways of being that we felt contributed to our satisfaction and success. In doing so, we could maintain our culture as we grew, knowing where to look when we inevitably stumbled along the way."

"Great company cultures don’t happen on their own. They’re the result of great leadership, and a conscious effort to make everyone on a team feel engaged and important,” says Jason Feifer, editor in chief of Entrepreneur. “The honorees on our 2017 list are proof that strong cultures make even stronger companies. Entrepreneurs at all levels can draw inspiration from them.”

Mr. Link goes on to say, "Our values organically came about by recognizing the things that we have always been when we are at our best—courageous, supportive, smart, and collaborative. From these core behaviors, our values were born: come from a place of courage, stand for one another’s success, keep things smart and simple, and play well with others. That’s what we believe in and live as a company.”

The full list, presenting a total of 153 companies categorized as small, medium or large, is available on Entrepreneur.com. Core insights, behaviors and attributes that have helped to shape the high-performing cultures presented by the top companies are shared alongside practices to help other companies develop their own workplace environments.

"A high-performance culture leads not only to employee engagement but also to measurable business results," says Greg Besner, founder and CEO of CultureIQ.  “These organizations show us that great companies start with great culture.”

The rankings for all companies were determined using CultureIQ's methodology for measuring high-performance cultures. Employees at each company received a survey of multiple-choice questions and the answers were used to assess a company's strength across 10 core components of culture, such as collaboration, innovation and communication. The companies with the highest scores earned a place on the Top Company Culture list in ranking order. To be considered for the ranking, a company must have at least 25 employees, have been founded before January 1, 2015, and be headquartered in the U.S.

To view SpatialKey in the full ranking, visit entm.ag/TopCultures

About SpatialKey

We build technology that simplifies how insurers gain insights from information. We bundle everything insurers need—the best data, mapping, and analytics—in apps that help them streamline their decision-making. More than 100 insurers trust our innovative, off-the-shelf solutions for underwriting, exposure management, and claims to help them achieve healthier portfolios, operations, and profits. Learn more at https://www.spatialkey.com.

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SpatialKey Names Insurance Industry Expert Bret Stone as President

Posted on February 14, 2017 by Jen Smoldt

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SpatialKey Inc. (SpatialKey) is pleased to announce Bret Stone has recently been named President of SpatialKey. Mr. Stone previously held the position of COO at SpatialKey. An industry expert in catastrophe risk management and insurance operations, he is a long-time veteran of the insurance industry holding analytic and product management roles at RMS, Willis Re, and Allstate prior to joining SpatialKey in 2012.

Mr. Stone has been instrumental in the delivery of SpatialKey products, overseeing marketing, service, product, and design during his tenure at the company. In his new role, he will be directly responsible for the company’s strategic direction and day-to-day operations.

Mr. Stone states, “I'm excited about this new role and advancing SpatialKey’s presence and leadership in the InsurTech space.” He adds, “I am passionate about solving insurers' analytic challenges and driving innovation to market. Through well-designed analytics, workflow, and expert content, our solutions empower decision makers with insight. In this way, SpatialKey has redefined geospatial analytics for the insurance industry.”

Over the past five years, Mr. Stone has actively worked to move risk intelligence out of the back office and into the hands of the business. He explains, “SpatialKey is all about providing tangible value to insurers. And, the way to do that is through the collaboration of data, analytics, and technology. Collaboration will yield more and faster innovation, enabling insurers to put advancements in InsurTech into action.”

Tom Link, Founder and CEO of SpatialKey adds, “Bret was at the forefront of InsurTech before it was “InsurTech”—before it became a movement. It just makes sense to have an industry expert of his caliber, experience, and with his passion at the helm of SpatialKey.” Mr. Link continues, “I’m grateful for Bret's service and leadership over the past five years. Working together, we’ve established a level of trust and camaraderie that makes this a good fit and a natural progression for the company. With Bret’s leadership, I’m confident we’ll continue to drive innovation in the geospatial insurance analytics space.”

About SpatialKey 
We build technology that simplifies how insurers gain insights from information. We bundle everything insurers need—the best data, mapping, and analytics—in apps that help them streamline their decision-making. More than 100 insurers trust our innovative, off-the-shelf solutions for underwriting, exposure management, and claims to help them achieve healthier portfolios, operations, and profits. Learn more at https://www.spatialkey.com.

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Punxsutawney Phil predicts it's time to reevaluate your underwriting approach

Posted on February 4, 2017 by Jen Smoldt

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So, what does Groundhog Day have to do with underwriting?

On February 2nd, Punxsutawney Phil saw his shadow. And, you're probably thinking, "So what does this have to do with my underwriting?" Just bear with the logic for a moment….Do you know how often Phil’s forecasts have been right? If he were right say even 70-80 percent of the time, would you see animal predictions as rooted in science? A sound piece of data perhaps? 

Let’s consider how rodent prognostication works: If Phil sees his shadow, then expect six more weeks of winter; however, no shadow means an early spring. The ritual dates back to 1887 when Phil first shared his meteorological insights and was then quickly devoured as part of the Gobbler’s Knob celebration (ouch, for Phil). Back in the day, there was a belief that Phil’s forecasting was connected to a larger animal consciousness.

The question we’re all asking is: How reliable is Phil, really? We decided to find out.

THE DATA 
The Washington Post actually did do the math. They calculated the average daily temperatures during the six weeks after Groundhog Day for the past 30 years and then compared the temperatures in the years when Phil saw his shadow to those in the years that he did not.

Drum roll please…

It turns out that Phil was right more often than not, but only in some cities. The results basically come down to chance because temperatures do not vary uniformly across the country—so Phil is bound to be right and wrong somewhere.

I know what you’re thinking...“This makes sense, but give me a number already!” Stormfax Almanac data suggests Phil’s accuracy is about 39 percent.

There’s only one prognosticating groundhog to make a very broad prediction for the entire country, though. Basically, every region of the country would need its own Phil for any type of accuracy according to The Post’s findings. For example, Punxsutawney Phil and his ancestors have been right only 39 percent, whereas Staten Island Chuck, has an 80 percent accuracy rate.

What’s this mean for your underwriting practices? Paying attention to more than one data source, the accuracy of data, and how it informs predictability can lead you to the right information for more informed decision making. Data and analytics are absolutely critical for accurate risk assessment—or let’s call it “underwriting prognostication” in honor of Groundhog Day.

PREDICTABILITY
Remember when Bill Murray woke up to a screeching alarm only to face the same day over and over again in the movie Groundhog Day?

Are you stuck in that same cycle when it comes to underwriting—approaching it the same way as you’ve always been? It’s likely that your practices are “good enough,” so why make a change? Here’s why: Eventually, the lack of moving forward—into a new day—will hinder performance. You will lose a competitive edge by being stuck in the same mode and missing out on key advancements (namely, InsurTech) to move your business forward. Many insurers realize this, that’s why three in four insurance companies—74 percent—believe that some part of their business is at risk of disruption.

ACCURACY 
In the movie, Bill Murray, who plays a weatherman, is able to accurately predict what will happen next. He can do this because he’s already lived the day before—he’s been there and is able to manipulate every situation to his benefit.

How great would it be if this were true for insurers? Imagine having the power to know exactly what’s going to happen when new business comes in? Being able to know for certain which catastrophes were going to hit (and when) would seriously increase success. But the fact is, risk is the reason insurance exists. People need insurance because they can’t predict the future. Every day in the insurance business is a new day—a new risk. And, anything that can help you more accurately predict risk is good as gold.

There’s a lot of information out there that can help with more accurate risk assessment, the big challenge is bringing it all together to empower more insightful decisions. Which leads us to how the combination of data, analytics, and technology, InsurTech in a nutshell, can enrich your insights for better “underwriting prognostication” (i.e. decisioning) and profitability:

“Insurers that embrace predictive modeling complexity by focusing on data enrichment, advanced analytics and technology can achieve a significant return on their investment,” said Klayton Southwood, director, P&C practice, Willis Towers Watson. “Carriers that catapult beyond their competition do so, in part, by leveraging superior data organization and analysis. For those insurers aspiring to unlock the potential of big data, they must be strategic, persistent and consistent.”

MORAL OF THE STORY
It’s essential to constantly evaluate your current underwriting rituals and determine if they’re still relevant for today or stuck in Groundhog Day. And the good news is, insurers don’t have to be stuck because the new day is offering incredible new solutions.

Like Punxsutawney Phil, and our friend Bill (Murray), you can’t be “holed up” in good enough. You need a broader view to accurately assess and gain insights. It’s time to leverage InsurTech strategies like geospatial insurance analytics which, in the case of SpatialKey, can provide access to a spectrum of content providers along with consistency and collaboration across departments–not to mention real-time insights that bring your data to life and help you make quality decisions. Because, let’s face it, data is useless if we can only see a shadow of it.

Connect with us to find out more about SpatialKey’s underwriting solutions. Or, see SpatialKey in action at the upcoming RAA conference:

HEADING TO ORLANDO FOR RAA NEXT WEEK? COME SEE US! - 4:45 EST, February 14

Join Jonathan Ward, AVP Risk Services, RLI, and Bret Stone, President, SpatialKey, on February 14 at 4:45 EST. They'll discuss today's underwriting challenges and demonstrate how geospatial insurance analytics has helped RLI harness the power of data to accelerate decisioning and much more. Don't miss it! 

 

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SpatialKey and RedZone partner to offer leading wildfire underwriting solution

Posted on January 24, 2017 by Sarah Stadler

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SpatialKey Inc is pleased to offer its insurance clients access to wildfire risk data from RedZone. RedZone provides the most accurate, up-to-date wildfire intelligence for underwriters, now immediately available in SpatialKey’s geospatial insurance analytics platform.

According to the Insurance Information Institute, 2016 saw 61,920 wildfires compared to the reported 58,225 in 2015 in the U.S. Historically, there haven’t been great tools for underwriters to understand the risk of wildfire, which is why SpatialKey and RedZone decided to collaborate. Combining SpatialKey’s powerful analytics and visualizations with RedZone’s wildfire risk data, insurers gain a competitive advantage in the marketplace by making more informed risk decisions.

SpatialKey’s Underwriting app, designed by insurance experts, gives underwriters the ability to exploit faster, better intelligence to price and select risk better, driving improved underwriting profit with reduced downstream costs associated with reinsurance and claims. Today’s newly announced partnership puts RedZone’s wildfire risk data directly into the hands of underwriters, empowering them to analyze and visualize live ember risk, fire severity, fire frequency, and more.

Clark Woodward, founder and CEO of RedZone explains: “We’ve devoted our business entirely to giving underwriters access to the most accurate, reliable, up-to-date wildfire intelligence available. Now, underwriters can access this data through the SpatialKey platform and quickly visualize and analyze information to make prudent risk and pricing decisions. This partnership puts data into the hands of the underwriter, and we’re thrilled to be a part of that innovation.”

Bret Stone, President of SpatialKey comments: “We believe rapid innovation is best achieved through collaboration among commercial providers.  This collaboration enables insurers to put advancements in InsurTech into action.  Our partnership with RedZone brings together the best data and technology to deliver value to insurers.  We’re excited that RedZone shares our vision and has enabled us to deliver an unmatched wildfire solution to help insurers better understand, select, and manage wildfire risk.”

About SpatialKey: We build technology that simplifies how insurers gain insights from information. We bundle everything insurers need—the best data, mapping, and analytics—in apps that help them streamline their decision-making. More than 100 insurers trust our innovative, off-the-shelf solutions for underwriting, exposure management, and claims to help them achieve healthier portfolios, operations, and profits. Learn more at https://www.spatialkey.com.

About RedZone: The RedZone technology platform is designed to drive profitable growth and nurture customer loyalty in areas at high risk to wildfires and other disasters. Our suite of products includes off-the-shelf and custom solutions for predictive analysis, underwriting, claims verification and event monitoring. RedZone is headquartered in Boulder Colorado. Learn more by visiting http://www.redzone.co

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7.4 magnitude earthquake strikes Japan, what's the portfolio impact?

Posted on November 21, 2016 by Sarah Stadler

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Update: After our original publication of this post on Tuesday November 21, 2016 the earthquake was changed from a 6.9 magnitude rating to 7.4, and that change is reflected in our headline and post copy.

Tuesday brought a powerful earthquake just off the western coast of Japan. The Telegraph reports that Japan experiences around 20 percent of the world's earthquakes of magnitude 6 or greater, and this quake keeps that statistic strong with a 7.4 magnitude rating.  The quake struck near the  2011 site that caused a massive tsunami, setting off the worst nuclear crisis the world had seen since Chernobyl. With a quake as strong as today’s the potential for a devastating tsunami is a relevant and rising concern for citizens and insurers alike.

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Using SpatialKey, we began an immediate analysis of the quake to help insurers visualize where the it struck, and what potential damage it could cause if they compared it to their own insured locations. This footprint shows us the epicenter of the quake and the impact along the coast. The sample data set we used shows nearly 2,000 locations with the potential for moderate or strong impact from the quake. We also see the total for policy exposed limit in the upper right corner, an important metric many of our users reference when assessing portfolio impact. While this view doesn’t take into account the tsunami that could occur, it offers a telling image of what can be expected in way of claims coming in after the storm.

A few other things insurers can consider as the event plays out:

  • Property damage is uncertain so far, but the areas experiencing greatest ground shaking are coastal cities between Iwaki and Sendai, as well as inland to Fukushima.
  • The greatest concern is the potential for tsunami damage, especially given the severity of the 2011 tsunami and the resulting damage to the Fukushima Daiichi nuclear power plant. While tsunami warnings are in effect for Japan, which is expecting a wave of 3-10 feet, there is no tsunami danger for the US West Coast.
  • Coastal residents in Fukushima and Miyagi prefectures are on alert, and evacuation to higher ground is recommended until after the tsunami has passed.

We’re here to help. Reach out today to assess your own portfolio against Japan’s earthquake to empower your claims response.

 

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How can 2016 risk inform your 2017 strategy?

Posted on November 21, 2016 by Sarah Stadler

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2016 has been a year of growth and evolution here at SpatialKey from enhancing our solution for underwriters, actively monitoring catastrophic events that impacted insurers, and bringing on more 3rd-party data partnerships to fuel our solutions. With 2017 on the horizon, now is the time to reflect on the events of 2016 and understand how they can inform your strategy for 2017.

This year's success  

Enhanced data and analytics for underwriters

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We revamped our Underwriting app this year, giving users access to analytics and visualizations for any hazard, such as terror, flood, wind and crime. Underwriters can now access intelligence to inform risk selection, all in one place. Further, our solution offers the flexibility to consume and integrate any 3rd party or in-house content to assist with decision making across the globe.  Uniting data, analytics, and visualizations for underwriters to proactively manage your portfolio at the point of sale is an ongoing effort for SpatialKey, and we’re thrilled to be on the path to making data-driven underwriting a reality for all insurers. Take a look at this webinar recording featuring our terror underwriting solution.

On-time event response for claims
Our clients have been able to stay on top of catastrophe events as they happen by leveraging up-to-date event information from expert sources.  This produces competitive advantage, proactive customer outreach, efficient claims deployment and early intelligence to detect potential claims fraud. Combining timely expert data, visualization, and analytics in one spot offers tangible insight into potential exposure and helps reduce claims costs. Here are some of the notable events we saw this year, and how we visualized them in SpatialKey:

McMurray fire

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Hurricane Matthew  Hurricane_Matthew.png

Louisiana floods 

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European Windstorm app
We also heard the call from many of our European users to make it possible for them to understand severe windstorms (many of you reading might remember the impact windstorm Kyrill had nearly a decade ago), in SpatialKey. We collaborated with our valued partner, Willis Re, to create a purpose-built app for insurers to easily access, visualize and analyze insureds potentially affected by a storm, track windstorms as they happen with forecast data and event footprints, and overlay event footprints onto portfolio data in one intuitive dashboard. 

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More 3rd-party data providers

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At SpatialKey, we are deeply committed to making sure insurers have the right data at their fingertips, so they can easily analyze and visualize risk in their underwriting, exposure management and claims operations. 2016 brought even more expert data providers to SpatialKey’s platform, including HazardHub, EuroTempest, Location, Inc. and Impact Forecasting. Being a data agnostic platform means that insurers can access the most relevant data and models available in the industry, plus make use of their own in-house hazard, exposure and experience data, to make data-driven decisions for their business. To date, we are proud to have been selected as a value-added partner to these expert firms!

Focused on the power of collaboration 

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At SpatialKey, we believe that innovation is delivered with enhanced speed and quality as the result of industry collaboration, allowing each contributor to relentlessly focus in areas of core competence and focus its financial resources.  This collaboration requires involvement from the insurance and the commercial solution provider communities.  Insurers provide the proper business context and focus, while commercial providers work collaboratively to deliver best of breed data and software solutions that link disparate systems and serve up intelligence directly to the business user community.  


Our passionate leaders had a lot to say about that this year. Our CEO, Tom Link, wants to see everyone evolve in how they collaborate in today’s data driven world; our CTO, Brandon Purcell, published an insightful post on the buy vs. build debate and cost of ownership; and our VP of Products, Derek Blum, talked to us about leveraging the right experts to get ahead. Not to be left out, our COO, Bret Stone, authored a white paper on the subject that you can read here.

The point is, we care about working together to move the insurance industry forward, and we’ll always be putting energy and effort into making sure we leverage the experts around us to make SpatialKey solutions even more relevant, insightful and powerful.

 

Enough about the past, let’s talk about the future

Next year is going to be important for how insurers use technology and data. We will continue to see new technologies and practices emerge. Some of which seek to disrupt traditional practices, but almost all of which, will offer greater efficiency, cost savings, and decision support. Here are three ways we think insurers can stay ahead of the game in 2017:

Leverage technology for competitive advantage

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It’s a tough reality to face, but the current soft market may not improve next year.  Additionally, the "low rates" in the soft insurance market pertains to low premium rates. Add to this the fact that interest rates on investments have been particularly low for years and this means that there is even further pressure on underwriting profitability. 2016 saw significant wind, flood and wildfire event losses, and we have no reason to expect that 2017 will be less. InsurTech has been getting a lot of coverage, and the insurance industry is supporting this not only through adoption of new tech, but also injecting capital investment as well to activate new firms and initiatives and their associated innovations. InsurTech solutions have the potential to accelerate the decision making process, enhance data capture and accessibility, and deliver even more expert content.  All leading to efficient, better business. SpatialKey’s ongoing investment in geospatial insurance analytics ensures that insurers can readily access data and technology that support their critical business decisions.

Make rapid, informed and proactive decisions with data

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Data loses its power if it’s difficult to access, or worse yet, impossible to interpret. Insurers need data to work for them, not against them. They will continue to demand solutions that help them understand and analyze data quickly, so they can make informed decisions fast. More now than ever, insurers want to move analytics out of the back office and into the hands of the business with easy to use one-stop solutions that enable self-serve analysis of information.  

To that end, in 2017, SpatialKey will continue to commit 100% of its research and development into delivery of well-designed solutions, focused in the areas of underwriting, exposure management and claims.  Additionally, we will continue to seek collaborative partnerships with cat and non-cat expert content and technology providers to offer our clients even more choice and seamless access to the intelligence they need.  

Differentiate yourself through customer service

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In addition to the seamless integration of third party data, we see improving customer support and insight as a natural part of event response and as a key trend in 2017. Using data to proactively track a hurricane, wildfire, flood or other catastrophes empowers insurers to act quickly and respond to their insureds with speed and efficiency - amplifying their customer service and retention. In a soft market like today’s, there’s nothing more valuable than serving current customers and maintaining that strong business.

Connect now to learn how you can benefit from SpatialKey solutions

Posted in Wildfire, Hurricane, Underwriting, Flood, Data visualization, windstorm, Collaboration, claims, data partner | Leave a reply

SpatialKey® and Location, Inc. give underwriters access to crime risk data, enabling data-driven underwriting decisions and risk-based pricing

Posted on November 15, 2016 by Sarah Stadler

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SpatialKey Inc. (SpatialKey) is pleased to offer its insurance clients access to crime risk data from Location, Inc., a leading provider of U.S. location based analytics. Location, Inc. specializes in providing hyperlocal crime risk data to help underwriters understand, measure and select risk, and calculate premiums with greater accuracy. Exposure managers can also use Location Inc.’s crime risk data to quickly identify and manage adverse portfolio accumulations.

“The Location, Inc. team is excited to be partnering with an innovative geospatial insurance analytics company like SpatialKey,” said Dr. Andrew Schiller, CEO and Founder of Location, Inc. “Making our SecurityGauge® crime risk data available via the SpatialKey platform allows underwriters to visualize and gauge hyperlocal crime risk at the time they are making binding decisions. SpatialKey clients will gain access to another layer of intelligence, enabling their underwriters to more quickly and effectively assess risk and manage exposure.”

Location, Inc. provides a deep-market view of human behavior risks (fire, liability, and theft and vandalism) at the policy address level. Its geospatial behavioral crime indices leverage data collected from over 18,000 authoritative sources and model risk for the entire U.S. landscape, down to an unprecedented 33-foot resolution. This fine-grained assessment of intelligent crime risk data enables insurers to streamline operations by eliminating risks in the early stages of the underwriting process. Insurers can pinpoint pockets of low risk within regions often thought of as high risk and, conversely, locate pockets of high risk within regions often considered low risk, resulting in segmentation and premium advantage over competitors.

“SpatialKey is a valuable risk assessment solution for our underwriting teams,” said RLI Insurance Company President & COO Craig W. Kliethermes. “We rely on sophisticated data to assess and underwrite risks, so having the ability to seamlessly access and analyze Location, Inc.’s crime risk data within SpatialKey will allow us to expand our use of the platform.”

The SpatialKey Underwriting application already gives insurers the expert data and advanced analytics they need to assess other man-made and natural catastrophe perils. Now underwriters and exposure managers can access crime data within the solution to form a more comprehensive view of risk in one convenient platform.

“RLI’s commitment to innovation and reputation for underwriting excellence has made them a great partner to work with in delivering an analytic solution tailored to visualizing and analyzing crime risk,” said Bret Stone, COO, SpatialKey. “We’re excited to take this solution to market with the experts at Location, Inc. as we believe our shared goal to deliver real and actionable insights to the insurance market will help improve risk selection, lower costs and drive results to the bottom line.”

Posted in Press Releases, Data visualization, crime, data partner | Leave a reply

SpatialKey® and HazardHub collaborate to give insurers easier access to hazard data

Posted on November 1, 2016 by Sarah Stadler

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SpatialKey Inc. (SpatialKey) is pleased to offer its insurance clients access to hazard data from HazardHub, a risk data provider. HazardHub specializes in developing proprietary models and processing past event data to help underwriters and exposure managers better understand the probability of future property damage, in order to write profitable business and maintain a strong portfolio.

HazardHub’s expert data is the latest to be seamlessly integrated into SpatialKey’s geospatial analytics solution. The integration complements SpatialKey’s applications designed specifically for insurers, and helps underwriters and exposure managers better visualize risk and understand exposure alongside hazard data. Clients can now easily layer on the HazardHub data from straight-line wind, hail, and tornado to new policy submissions during the risk analysis process and make more informed decisions. Additional hazards from HazardHub, such as wildfire, earthquake and hurricane, will be added to SpatialKey Underwriting and Hazard Analyst applications within the next few months.

HazardHub’s team of experienced data scientists translate, create, and deploy large volumes of geospatial data from past events that are translated into scores that represent future risk potential.

“Working with SpatialKey offers insurers a seamless way to visualize and analyze our data without the heavy lifting of having to integrate it into their own systems,” said Bob Frady, CEO and Founder, HazardHub. “This collaboration offers the marketplace an innovative approach to consuming and understanding hazard data without the need for internal GIS systems or expertise."

With Insurance Journal reporting that catastrophes contributed to increased underwriting losses during the first half of 2016, high-quality hazard data is increasingly valuable to insurers. The partnership between SpatialKey and HazardHub simplifies the process of deriving meaningful insights from hazard data for insurers so they can focus on driving underwriting profits.

“We’re delighted to expand SpatialKey’s hazard data offerings for underwriters and exposure managers in the U.S.,” said Bret Stone, COO, SpatialKey. “With HazardHub data seamlessly integrated within SpatialKey, our clients can easily access and analyze relevant data to better pinpoint new business opportunities in an increasingly competitive market.”

Posted in Wildfire, Press Releases, Hurricane, Partnerships, Earthquake, Hail, tornado, wind | Leave a reply

Willis Re and SpatialKey® collaborate to bring EuroTempest data to insurers

Posted on October 23, 2016 by Sarah Stadler

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New European Windstorm event response app available now

Willis Re, the reinsurance division of Willis Towers Watson (NASDAQ: WLTW), the global advisory, broking and solutions company has collaborated with SpatialKey Inc. to launch a new European Windstorm app. This powerful new event response application integrates data from multiple data sources, including EuroTempest—insurance industry experts in forecasting and reporting on European windstorm activity.

Accessible through a web browser, SpatialKey’s European Windstorm application provides seamless, real-time access to both forecast and historical event data. This enables insurance claims managers to perform geospatial analysis across an entire portfolio of insured properties exposed to a windstorm, making it easier to assess damage and to respond to claims as quickly as possible. Claims teams can also use the app to track windstorms as they happen, accessing forecast data and event footprints to understand their exposure and manage potential claims costs.

“We’re delighted to give our clients access to valuable windstorm data from EuroTempest through the powerful SpatialKey platform,” said Tim Edwards, Head of Europe Catastrophe Analytics, Willis Re International. “Now, Willis Re clients can easily access, visualize, and analyze the windstorm data they need to better respond to catastrophes as they occur.”

Nick Wood, Commercial Director, EuroTempest, said: “We’re pleased to partner with SpatialKey and Willis Re to offer insurers a way to visualize and better utilize our unique windstorm data through SpatialKey’s geospatial insurance analytics platform,” said Wood.

SpatialKey, which established a full-time presence in London earlier this year, is releasing the new app at a time when insured losses due to European windstorms average €3 billion per year, according to PERILS AG. During a typical season, which begins in November and ends in March, an average of six windstorms threaten Europe, affecting insured properties across multiple countries. European Windstorm is the newest event response app from SpatialKey.

“We’re excited to offer our European clients the expert data and advanced analytics they need to proactively prepare for incoming windstorm claims,” said Derek Blum, Vice President, Product Marketing, SpatialKey. “Insurers rely on contextualized expert content to manage their response, and using SpatialKey’s European Windstorm solution simplifies and speeds up that process during events, when every minute counts.”

 

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Whether you buy or build, getting ahead depends on leveraging the right experts

Posted on October 19, 2016 by Derek Blum

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Expertise can mean many things. Our last post from our CTO Brandon Purcell, How collaborating on technology changes the buy vs. build debate once and for all, touched on this important, but often overlooked part of this equation. Brandon pointed out that to obtain a solution that truly helps you understand your data and identify the insights you need to make decisions, you have to collaborate with experts. I wholeheartedly agree. But, I would add that you have to use the right kind of expert—with the right skill set—to successfully build and deploy a data analytics solution that will be readily adopted by your team.

What do I mean by that statement? Let me elaborate. Just because I understand the metrics used to describe hurricanes doesn’t mean I have the knowledge or the ability to collect wind speed data and construct a footprint. As a result, it makes absolute sense for me to rely on others who are far better equipped to supply this critical data to me. And yet there are insurers out there who instead of leveraging expert data, will attempt to reinvent the wheel or go without.

I suppose it makes sense in some regard. Who else knows what insurers need when it comes to data better than the insurers themselves? After all, insurance is a complex business with each company developing a unique workflow that suits the geography, lines of business, and culture of their operations. (I should know, I’ve been helping to develop products specifically for insurers for the past two decades.)

But with all due respect, I have to say that while you absolutely know insurance, you don’t have the same expertise in technology, especially for managing the increasing amounts of data you need to make decisions every day. Portfolio data, claims data, hazard data—the volume and breadth of data is growing exponentially. To keep up, you have to leverage the experts in data technology.

Let’s consider managing hazard data for a moment. First, you have to set up and manage the licensing agreements to access data from the provider. But once you have the agreement in place, license restrictions may limit how many people on your team can access the data, so you may not be able to easily scale to meet changing volumes or demands. Then, once you have access, you need to make it available to the right people in your organization. With large amounts of hazard or other kinds of data, this is no trivial matter.

Simple choices about how to warehouse the data and in what format to store it can affect the utility your company can get out of it. If the data is hard to use, you may fail to achieve the benefits you were seeking in the first place. In the end, you will have a variety of costs on the front-end just to have access, as well as maintenance costs to manage and update the data. And that’s before you even begin interpreting the data for underwriting decisions or comparing it to your own portfolio data. Not good.

Think about it this way. If you’re a property and casualty writer, and a client asks you for a workers compensation insurance policy, what do you do? You refer them to an underwriter who specializes in workers comp. Why? Because insuring employees for work-related injuries comes with a host of different concerns than insuring a building. Even inside your own area of expertise, you wouldn’t send an underwriter to do a claims adjuster’s job or have a customer service representative analyze your portfolio, would you?

This kind of expertise also applies to the data you need to drive critical decisions every day. Providers specialize in different types of data just like you specialize in different lines of insurance. JBA Risk Management, for example, is known for hazard mapping and catastrophe modeling for flood. Location, Inc., on the other hand, focuses on providing granular data for crime risk. By specializing, each provider can offer more valuable insights within their chosen area of expertise to the benefit of the insurers who partner with them.

As insurance experts, you might think your internal IT department has the design expertise to provide an optimal user experience when making standalone tools. But with what could amount to terabytes of hazard data, which is the complex kind of data we’re really talking about, your solution has to be able to handle geospatial lookups, as well as apply scoring matrices for one or more hazard layers. Connecting those dots isn't something an IT person who doesn’t specialize in Geographic Information Systems (GIS) or design can do.

On the other hand, choosing to work with the experts who specialize in making data easy to digest ensures you get the high-quality, durable solutions—backed by a dedicated Research and Development team—you need to stay ahead of your competitors. In addition, software from these kinds of experts can provide a better user experience while meeting the specific needs of each department and the broader needs of your entire enterprise. 

More importantly, partnering with software experts that can provide an out-of-the-box solution tailored for the insurance workflow means you don’t have to wait to begin making better, more informed decisions. A top-tier insurer recently discovered this for themselves. Because they decided to purchase an insurance analytics solution, they discovered they could have avoided a $1 million claim. If they had decided to try and build something in-house to understand this important data, it likely would have taken far too long, and even worse, may never have been finished in order to uncover the information. So just like that, their decision to collaborate with an outside expert helped them develop a competitive advantage. Not to mention, the software virtually paid for itself.

The truth is that staying on top of all of this is complicated. After all, there’s never been more data with which to inform your decisions. As the number of specialized data providers continues to grow, your internal IT team can’t easily stay on top of bringing together all of the data sources, managing provider license agreements, and performing routine maintenance to keep everything working smoothly. At the same time, managing internal claims and portfolio data is challenging as well. To compete successfully, you need to be able to quickly visualize and understand what all of this information is really telling you so you can act on it...you need insight at your fingertips.

At SpatialKey, we collaborate with data providers to ensure our clients don’t ever have to be bothered with that kind of administrative overhead and costly infrastructure and maintenance. (Just sayin’.) Plus, we’ve already done the due diligence to ensure we’re working with high-quality data providers. That means accessing data is a snap for SpatialKey customers who aspire to write better risk, respond quickly to catastrophes, and build resilient portfolios.

From a purely business perspective, executives and shareholders expect your underwriters, exposure managers, and claims managers to inform their approach and make educated decisions with relevant data. To set your teams up for success—and enable them to focus on the specialty that drives your bottom line—you need them to spend less time finding and managing data and more time interpreting and acting on it. The added bonus? When multiple departments use the same data sources for their decision making, you gain consistent understanding and efficiency across your entire organization.

Today, every insurer understands the importance of being a data-driven enterprise. But to truly achieve this goal, you have to depend on the right partners, ones who specialize in simplifying how you access, interpret, and analyze data, whether it’s your own or from a third party. Being able to quickly access and interpret expert data sources is what will set you apart, and keep your business competitive today and for years to come.

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