Japan’s Latest Earthquakes Underscore Complexities for Insurers

by Sarah Stadler on April 16, 2016

Photo Credit: Koji Harada/Kyodo News via AP. Photo Credit: Koji Harada/Kyodo News via AP.

Located on the edge of what's known as the “Ring of Fire”—a stretch of the Pacific Ocean prone to volcanoes and earthquakes—Japan is one of the world’s most quake-prone countries.

Last week’s 6.2 and 7.0 magnitude earthquakes—which occurred just two days apart— left nine people dead and thousands injured in southern Japan. Aftershocks continued to rock the area, with a tsunami warning issued for about an hour before being lifted.

For insurers, having a visual understanding of an earthquake's shake footprint, which shows the impact in and around the epicenter, sheds light on where to focus first—in Japan, the U.S., or across the world. And determining which policyholders have been affected can be difficult because debris can block access to the area. Not to mention that aftershocks can continue to cause structural damage from shake, fires, and sprinkler systems for days after the initial quake.

SpatialKey can help you quantify and manage your exposure to earthquake risk, plus identify insureds potentially impacted immediately following an event, so you can mobilize your claims team for the fastest possible response.

Proactively Manage Your Earthquake Risk

Seamlessly integrated with shakemaps from the U.S. Geological Survey (USGS) global library of earthquake footprints, SpatialKey allows you to evaluate the impact of an event. You can quantify your potential exposure by portfolio segment, policy, location, or any attribute within your portfolio data.


Even better, you can also filter by ground-shaking severity (e.g. peak ground velocity, peak ground acceleration, and the Modified Mercalli Index) to see which locations are in the areas most likely to experience damage.

And, by using live event data from the USGS to formulate an event response plan, you can base your response on the most accurate data available, helping you mobilize claims personnel and track claims as they come in following an earthquake

With SpatialKey you can also:

  • Gain additional insights into the distribution and composition of your exposure data, measured by TIV, Exposed Limit, and other metrics.
  • Calibrate your view of risk and risk management strategy by evaluating loss potential against historical and hypothetical earthquake scenarios.
  • View each insured and its associated data in the context of the event—and share impacted exposures with claims and analytic teams.

To learn more about how SpatialKey’s robust data, crisp visualizations, and unmatched user experience can help you improve how you manage claims for better customer retention, contact us today.

Topics: Earthquake, Event response

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