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Hurricane Michael has rapidly intensified. Now the question is, will it hold its strength with landfall? According to forecasters, Hurricane Michael's rapid intensification over the past two days, despite shifting winds, "defies traditional logic." Michael is expected to make history, as it will be the strongest hurricane to ever come ashore (since 1851) along the Florida Panhandle. Hurricane warnings are currently posted for the Florida Gulf coast from the Alabama/Florida border to Suwanee River, Florida, including Pensacola, Panama City, Destin and Tallahassee.
While we would like to think last year’s hurricane season was an anomaly, recent NOAA research points to more frequent and severe hurricanes due to climate warming. This means re/insurers, MGAs, and brokers alike, will need to become more proficient at the job of operationalizing sophisticated hazard data. As a 2017 report from McKinsey & Company found, “...a large operational performance gap remains. These disasters will likely demonstrate significant value for those insurers that have made the investment in digital tools. Insurers that have not and were highly exposed to the hurricanes will find their operations severely challenged….”
KatRisk’s inland flood depth footprint is just one of the many Hurricane Florence post-event footprints now accessible in SpatialKey.
Hurricane Florence is now a tropical depression with extensive river flooding being the primary concern. As you work to understand the extent of damage, respond to claims, and even identify potentially fraudulent claims, post-event data is a critical component in your mitigation and response efforts. With Florence reminiscent of Hurricane Harvey flooding, it’s time to refresh your understanding of how to interpret post-event footprints.
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Centered about 130 miles east-southeast of Wilmington, North Carolina, Florence is moving northwestward—slowly. Although downgraded to a Cat 2, the original storm surge predictions are still valid with the National Hurricane Center stating Wednesday evening that, "the wind field of the hurricane continues to grow in size. This evolution will produce storm surges similar to that of a more intense, but smaller, hurricane, and thus the storm surge values seen in the previous advisory are still valid."
Just a year ago Hurricane Harvey was making landfall on the Gulf Coast of Texas. Now, the projected hurricane season looks quite different, having been downgraded most recently by NOAA. It would be easy to become complacent—if not for Hurricane Lane, a Category 4 cyclone, barreling down on the Hawaiian islands. We may not see a string of hurricanes like last season, but Hurricane Lane is a reminder that it does, in fact, only take one hurricane. There’s no time like the present to learn from the past and get your operational “ducks in a row”.
Recently, Swiss Re announced that that the firm believes that 2017’s series of catastrophes occurring in the second half of the year is not a one-in-100 year event, but more like a one-in-10 year event:
"Climate change is in fact warming not just the Earth but also the oceans and one of the reasons why the expectation of future hurricanes is so high is that last years' three hurricanes together—the $135 billion of losses—are a one-in-10-year event not a one in a 100-year event….We see the possibility for a repetition of these kinds of losses in the foreseeable future." -John Dacey, Chief Financial Officer, Swiss Re
Dacey is not the only high-profile insurance executive to comment on climate change. Evan Greenberg, Chairman and CEO of Chubb, recently asked, “Given there have been three one-in-100-year floods in 18 months, how can Harvey represent a 1 percent chance of occurring as the models suggested?”
Factors like smoke and wind-driven embers were critical to the 2017 California wildfires, which resulted in $13 billion in insured losses, yet traditional incumbent models didn’t account for them. RedZone does. Lead by actual fire-fighting professionals who understand the nuances behind this growing risk, RedZone is at the forefront of innovations is U.S. wildfire data science with its one-of-a-kind Fire Frequency Score. And someone needs to be, because it’s a fact that wildfire season is no longer “seasonal,” but year-round.
KatRisk’s probabilistic multi-peril models are propelling this Cat modeler, largely known for their U.S. flood models, to the forefront of the flood modeling space. For more than four years, SpatialKey has worked with KatRisk to help underwriters and risk analysts gain a better understanding of flood risk. Our clients are finding that KatRisk’s overall score and flood depths by return period are helping underwriters understand both fluvial and pluvial flood risk like never before. In this interview, we talk with KatRisk co-founder, Dag Lohmann, who talks about the challenges of modeling U.S. flood risk, FEMA, and what’s next on the horizon for this innovative Cat modeler.
JBA Risk Management (JBA) is known as an authority on global flood risk so it’s no surprise that they’re constantly refining their flood data and flood maps. Since 2012 SpatialKey has partnered with JBA to help insurers better understand, select, and price flood risk accurately and with confidence. Recently, we caught up with Jane Toothill, Director of JBA, who sheds light on how improvements in their flood mapping are helping underwriters better assess and select this volatile risk.
Read on to learn about how JBA is taking on U.S. flood mapping (at 5m resolution), upcoming updates to their France flood maps, and what underwriters need to know about how climate change is impacting flood risk.
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