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.
Additionally, the initial offering of SpatialKey’s new automated event notifications solution, which provides 24/7 severe storms event notifications and analysis, will utilize hail, wind, and tornado data from WeatherGuidance.
In this interview, we catch up with Rob White, WeatherGuidance Founder and President, to learn more about how their storm data is helping insurers better prepare and respond to natural hazard risks.
What’s your “data story”?
We like to say that “we are a weather company that technology happened to.” We’ve been doing this type of work for nearly 30 years, and everything we do is from the approach of meteorology (weather science) first. Then, we apply technology to streamline and make the process more efficient.
What sets WeatherGuidance apart from other natural hazard data providers?
Many of our competitors have little to no meteorological background, and are basically tech companies doing weather. We believe this gives us a distinct advantage when it comes to accuracy and dependability, and also allows us to respond quickly to customer needs on an individual basis.
How are you helping claims professionals better manage and respond to events?
Not long ago, many claims were being paid simply based on the fact that damage was found, for example, on a roof. Proper attention was not given to the possibility that the damage may have occurred months or even years prior—or by means other than weather altogether (i.e. fraud). In addition to helping companies verify claims, our forecast and outlook tools also allow them to anticipate significant severe weather events days ahead of time, so that call centers can be staffed and field agents deployed before the event even takes place.
How does your partnership with SpatialKey help to better serve insurers?
We want to get our data into as many hands as possible so claims teams can quickly assess and respond to catastrophes that impact their insureds. Collaborating with SpatialKey allows us to do just that. There’s no easier way for an insurer to interact with our data in relation to their own portfolio than through SpatialKey.
Are you finding that weather events are changing with regard to frequency and severity?
In general, large scale weather patterns tend to be cyclical, so it’s hard to definitively (and scientifically) say that a specific trend is occurring. That said, one thing is for sure: as population centers continue to grow, especially in areas that more frequently see severe thunderstorms and hurricanes, exposure will continue to increase. An example of this trend is the apparent increase in severe weather-related damage in the South in what’s now known as Dixie Alley, which is rapidly catching up with the traditional Tornado Alley in the Midwest with regard to high-impact tornado and high-wind events.
What can we look forward to from WeatherGuidance?
Unlike many of our competitors, we employ our own in-house IT and program development teams. This allows our technical and meteorological teams to closely coordinate on trends, developments, and requests, while getting new features and innovations out to customers at much faster speeds compared with many other companies. On the weather radar and satellite data side, we start developing new procedures and updates before the government actually deploys new or updated software and/or hardware on their end, which means we’re usually ready to go with the next data improvement as soon as the new data gathering technology is deployed on the government side (which is where the majority of the radar and satellite data originates).
And just for fun…if your company was a superhero who would it be?
The Flash, of course. I would say Weather Wizard, but he was a villain, not a hero.
What would your company’s theme song be?
That’s a tough one. I’d say a blend of “Riders on the Storm” and “Nothing’s Gonna Stop Us Now.”