Jen Smoldt

Jen Smoldt

Recent Posts

Q&A with WeatherGuidance, leading weather data provider

WeatherGuidance is quickly earning a reputation as a leading provider of weather data in the US. Through its collaboration with SpatialKey, the company provides insurers with access to pre- and post-event multi-peril risk reports as well as the ability to analyze, visualize, and map the exact size and path of severe storms including tornado, wind, and hail events. Their offering is fast becoming a popular one among SpatialKey clients who use WeatherGuidance data for forecasting, notifications, and post-event footprints.  

We salute women in InsurTech

The women of SpatialKey discuss what it's like being a woman working in InsurTech, plus how they're making a difference for insurance organizations and future generations of women 

  • Progress is happening on the gender advancement and equality front with women now holding 11% of named officer positions in the insurance industry, up from 8% in 2015

  • With the industry facing a talent shortage, role models will be essential to attracting young women (millennials in particular) to insurance professions, especially STEM roles with the rise of InsurTech

  • To that end, the tenured women of insurance need to be mentoring and sharing their stories, challenges, and successes with the young women of tomorrow

Flood models: Built with climate change in mind

Many of the data partners we work with here at SpatialKey are at the forefront of data science, and actively working to innovate modeling approaches to better understand the impact of climate change on flood risk. As carriers, brokers, and MGAs well know, models and their outputs are nuanced, and data providers have different views on climate change and modeling flood risk. That’s why it’s important to have multiple views of risk at your disposal, so you can identify the right models and model components that best represent your lines of business, geography, and business practices.

3 small steps for the U.S. private flood market

In the past week, we’ve seen some encouraging private flood market activity—that individually may seem small, but as a trend supports our recent post about why 2019 is going to be a big year for private flood insuranceHere are a few small victories from this week that, if you're an insurer, MGA, or broker looking to expand your U.S. private flood market presence, you may want to take note of…

3 ways to jumpstart your underwriting in 2019

At a glance:

  • 2019 market conditions may mean that improvements in the underwriting process itself will play a larger role in overall underwriting profitability
  • There are some key ways insurers can improve their underwriting operations, speed to quote, and risk assessment
  • Data integrated into the underwriting workflow, new hazard and event data sources, and a modern underwriting platform, will all play key roles in underwriting performance

NFIP update: What P&C insurers need to know

At a glance:

  • National Flood Insurance Program (NFIP) was extended (again) on Thursday, Dec 6
  • This was the ninth short-term extension in 2018, and the eighteenth extension since 2008
  • Congress has until Friday, Dec 21 to pass another extension 
  • A long-term solution remains elusive while the NFIP continues to lose an estimated $1.4 billion each year and remains $20+ billion in debt to the US Treasury
  • Despite the NFIP, the private flood insurance market grew $217 million in 2017

Cultivating a culture of gratitude

Randy Pausch, the late professor of computer science at Carnegie Mellon, said in his book, The Last Lecture, “Showing gratitude is one of the simplest yet most powerful things humans can do for each other.” The holidays are a good time to stop and take stock, both personally and professionally. The problem is, many of us are just too busy for gratitude! Appreciation is such a powerful, simple thing, yet so seldom expressed—especially in the workplace. In fact, one survey found that people are less likely to express gratitude at work than any place else, with 74 percent never or rarely expressing gratitude to their boss. Indeed, the workplace can be a place of high critique—whether it’s yourself or others evaluating your work. We’re often quick to criticize, not so quick to give praise.

3 ways P&C insurers can get more creative about wildfire risk

Following back-to-back years of tragic wildfires, some California residents and business owners will face another crisis—getting wildfire coverage—and making sure it’s adequate and affordable. As an insurer, agent, or broker, how do you rise to this challenge? The challenge of helping Californians rebuild and safeguard their homes and businesses, while protecting your own interests. There’s no doubt, insurance plays a key role in California's economy and resilience as wildfire risk continues to evolve. Last August, California Governor, Jerry Brown, stated about fighting wildfires in California: “We’re in for a really rough ride...and we have to apply all our creativity to make the best of what is going to be an increasingly bad situation.” 

Key challenges facing P&C insurers

In this 3-minute video, Tom Link, SpatialKey Founder and CEO, talks with Insurance Thought Leadership about how SpatialKey is helping P&C organizations make better decisions by enabling, enriching, and analyzing any and all data—via a single solution. He also explains why data is both a problem and an opportunity for insurers, especially with the influx of more sophisticated hazard and event data. Using the 2017 hurricane season as an example, Mr. Link describes how insurers, brokers, and MGAs may struggle with accessing the right data, at the right time.

Technology is shaping better wildfire perimeter data and analytics

Technology is shaping better data and analytics for improved wildfire response. Instead of guessing about how a fire has grown and which insureds are impacted, insurers can access regular fire boundary updates within SpatialKey. Up-to-date wildfire perimeter data has historically been a challenge, with insurance professionals resorting to hand-drawn boundaries or custom shapefile creation. Now, insurers can gain a much more accurate and comprehensive understanding of exposure by overlaying the latest fire perimeter data, including multiple models such as RedZone, GeoMac, and NASA data (all available during the latest California fires), with their portfolio data to visualize exposure, apply buffers and filters, and understand TIV and/or policy exposed limits.

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