How will you weather hurricanes during the rest of the 2016 season?

by Heather Munro on August 10, 2016

ibtimes.co.uk_mexico-landslides-hurricane-earl.jpgHurricane Earl dropped a month’s worth of rain in 24 hours, causing mudslides across parts of eastern Mexico. Photo credit: ibtimes.co.uk

While tropical storm Earl escalated into a category 1 hurricane for only a brief time in early August, it caused major loss of life and damage in eastern Mexico. In just 24 hours, the region received a month’s worth of rain, which caused multiple mudslides across the mountainous terrain and at press time, around 41 deaths.

It’s a grim reminder for insurers to stay alert. As we near the halfway mark for the 2016 Atlantic hurricane season, Colorado State University (CSU) is forecasting 11 named storms, five hurricanes, and two major hurricanes for the remainder of the season. While this is a slight increase in the number of storms predicted at the beginning of the season, CSU still expects a near-average Atlantic hurricane season.

September is also the most common month for hurricanes making landfall in the U.S., according to the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA). Between now and the end of the season in November, it’s safe to say that anything could happen.

Just as you provide peace of mind to your insureds, you need to feel confident that you’re prepared for the next big hurricane. SpatialKey is here to help you before, during, and after an event.

Stay on top of hurricane developments and act on them sooner

Like most hurricanes, Earl was anything but typical. It began as a tropical wave and thanks to warm waters and reduced wind shear as it crossed the central Caribbean Sea, grew into a tropical storm on August 1. One day later, the storm was upgraded to a hurricane, where it moved inland over Belize.

Next, Earl weakened back to a tropical storm as it crossed over the mountains of eastern Mexico. And although the storm never regained its earlier hurricane status, the steady rainfall—a month’s worth of rain in a day’s time—caused deadly landslides across the region.

During rapidly changing events like Earl, assessing the storm’s potential path, severity, and impact is critical to mobilizing your claims team to respond quickly. You need to understand exactly what’s at stake for your insureds and your portfolio. SpatialKey simplifies this process, giving  you seamless access to the NOAA hurricane event catalog, which is updated throughout the life cycle of the storm.

Of course, access to up-to-the-minute data means you have the information you need to manage your response efforts. Once you have a clear picture of the hurricane’s impact, you’ll also need to share a list of affected insureds with your claims team. SpatialKey allows you to easily export and share this kind of exposure data.

Hurrciane_Earl_Screen_Shot_2016-08-10_at_1.00.12_PM.pngVisualize a hurricane’s impact with real-time data in SpatialKey.

Let’s say that instead of downgrading to a tropical storm, Earl had grown back into a hurricane and changed course towards Cancun, a section of Mexico with seaside resorts where you have a substantial number of insureds. You can evaluate what-if scenarios like these and adjust your strategies as necessary, all within SpatialKey.

Once a hurricane is over, NOAA’s final event footprint is immediately available within SpatialKey. Your analytic team can review your portfolio performance at multiple snapshots in time and form a more complete view of the storm’s impact to your book of business.

Earl was the fifth named storm and only the second of 15 hurricanes predicted for the entire 2016 Atlantic hurricane season, which still has three months left. Even in years with fewer named storms, savvy insurers understand it only takes one major storm to make landfall and affect your book to make any predictions irrelevant. Are you ready?

Preparing for any outcome is the key to retaining policyholders, minimizing negative impacts to your portfolio, and setting expectations with senior management. To learn more about how SpatialKey can help you respond to events faster and increase customer satisfaction, contact us today.

Topics: Hurricane, weather

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