Could your portfolio weather another Kyrill?

by Derek Blum on September 29, 2016


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With the tenth anniversary of Windstorm Kyrill coming up this January, I can still recall the buzz in the insurance market when it first hit. Insurers were still reeling from a brutal 2005 U.S. hurricane season that brought Katrina, Dennis, Rita, Wilma, and several other large events. So the news of Kyrill came at a time when event response was emerging as both a proactive and reactive discipline, and insurers felt more prepared to respond. The tools they used weren’t quite as sophisticated as what exist today, but they expected to have access to quality data and to be able to provide a rapid supply of information and services to policyholders, management, and investors.

While it wasn’t the largest windstorm ever to impact Europe, it was the most significant storm, in terms of financial impact, since Lothar and Martin in 1999. In addition to 47 deaths, the powerful storm was responsible for more than €4 billion in insured losses (in 2016 euros), according to PERILS.

Nearly ten years later, Kyrill still serves as an important reminder to examine your windstorm exposure carefully, minimize your catastrophe risk wherever possible, and take steps to improve how quickly you can respond to claims. As the Vice President of Product Marketing at SpatialKey, I’m excited to share that our European Windstorm app can help you accomplish these goals in a way that just wasn’t possible back in 2007. The app, which we developed with Willis Re, is releasing just in time for European windstorm season.

Today’s tech can simplify how you respond to risk

An average of six windstorms threaten Europe every year. Not only do you have to be prepared for storm activity that may impact multiple countries throughout the season, you just never know which storm could turn out to be the next Kyrill...or worse.

“When looking over a longer time series, such an event is not rare,” notes Tim Edwards, Head of Europe Catastrophe Analytics, Willis Re. “We estimate that an event the size of Kyrill will hit the European insurance market every five to seven years.”

That’s why it’s critical to evaluate how your portfolio would be impacted—and how quickly your claims team will be able to respond—if a storm of equal or greater severity as Kyrill happened today.


With SpatialKey’s new app, understand the windstorm as it occurs, plus view multiple layers of portfolio and claims data to understand the event and effectively deploy your claims response.

Since Kyrill, advancements in geospatial analytics have made it possible to see exactly where your insureds are located in relation to windstorm forecast data or an event footprint. Today, you can visualize information like this easily on a map and know exactly how to prioritize the deployment of your claims response. If you think that’s cool, these days, you can also understand your exposure and potential claims costs based on insured values or limits by overlaying an event footprint on your portfolio data. That was not an easy feat back in 2007.

Just as important, you can now more easily track a windstorm as it’s happening. SpatialKey and Willis Re partnered with EuroTempest to bring you the windstorm forecast and footprint data you need to estimate potential damage, understand where to deploy claims personnel, and get an early sense of likely losses. As I’m sure you know, your customers’ expectations for timely response have only increased in the past ten years, so advancements like these are critical to maintaining your customer retention.

Since Kyrill, technology isn’t the only thing that’s changed. Your portfolio has likely evolved due to gradual market changes or even through acquisition. Greater population and building density, along with increased coastal erosion may also drive more risk. Evaluating your current portfolio against an actual windstorm footprint offers valuable information about your potential claims costs from a similar event. These ways of analyzing data can offer valuable insights for managing the health of your portfolio against future windstorms.

With European windstorm season just around the corner, now is the time to make sure you have access to the data you need to understand your exposure, respond to claims faster, and proactively handle whatever blows your way from November to March.

SpatialKey European Windstorm can help you manage risk and prepare for incoming claims with expert data and advanced analytics. To learn more about how SpatialKey can help you, contact us today.

Topics: windstorm

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