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”.
Hurricane Lane barrels towards Hawaii (photo courtesy of cbsnews.com)
Almost exactly one year after Hurricane Harvey dropped 50 inches of rain on Texas, Hurricane Lane, a Category 4 cyclone, is now barreling towards the Hawaiian islands, with its outer rainbands already drenching the Big Island. Forecasters say that it’s on course to move very close to the islands, or, make landfall from Thursday through Friday. With the likelihood of a direct hit growing, authorities have urged residents to set aside two weeks worth of food and water.
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?”
If you’ve got your eyes set on technology that won’t move the needle this year, it’s time to reevaluate what can provide bottom line results in the short term. AI and machine learning will have their day in commercial insurance. But what are you doing today to drive tangible business results? InsurTech does not have to be a “pie in the sky” endeavor. It can be deployed right now.
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.
Alpe d’Huez is a legendary climb, world-renown by cyclists. A relentless 8.5 miles with 21 hairpin bends and 8.1 percent gradient, it’s been a stage that can make or break the Tour de France for riders. But, it’s not included in every Tour. This epic climb only comes once in awhile. And, what’s important about it is the decisiveness of Alpe d’Huez in determining the overall leaders. Historically, the winner of the entire Tour has often been in the yellow leader jersey following the Alpe d'Huez stage. Meaning, how riders compete on this one stage is critical in determining the outcome of the entire race.
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.
With the rise of InsurTech, the new world of insurance is indeed a playing field—players jockeying for positions, making plays, aligning their teams, and acquiring new ones. Then, there are those who aren’t really sure what position they’re supposed to be playing. For these reasons and more, the sports world is relevant to the present state of InsurTech—it requires a game plan and guts. You can either stay on the bench and watch it unfold, or get in the game and start making plays.
When I first discovered how well the insurance industry collaborates, I was blown away. As an outsider, learning how agents, brokers, carriers, and reinsurers all work together to identify, write, and share risk was both overwhelming and fascinating. I was impressed at how multiple insurers participate in sharing a single risk and how each does so leveraging its unique strategy and specialty. An industry that initially seemed boring to me became artful and fascinating, even noble. I continually reflect on how this level of collaboration and risk sharing makes tremendously ambitious projects—from skyscrapers to city centers—possible. And yet, surprisingly, this industry that is so fundamentally built upon collaboration seems to lag far behind its peers when it comes to technology innovation and collaboration.
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.