Summer 2016 catastrophe wrap-up: Understand your exposure and prepare for future events

by Heather Munro on September 30, 2016

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Photo credit: shutterstock.com

With hail, hurricane, and wildfire seasons in full swing, summer is always a busy time for claims adjusters. This past summer was no exception, with several major events happening across the globe.

While California battled multiple, simultaneous wildfires, Hurricane Earl caused mudslides in Eastern Mexico. A tropical storm dropped 30 inches of rain in parts of Louisiana, which experienced its worst flooding since Hurricane Katrina in 2005. The picturesque Italian town of Amatrice was completely destroyed by a magnitude-6.0 earthquake. Most notably, Canada experienced one of the insurance industry’s costliest wildfire events when the Fort McMurray wildfires spread rapidly and caused $2.5 billion in insured losses.

From June to August, 10 different weather disasters each caused more than $1 billion in losses in the U.S., according to CBS News. In addition, Swiss Re reports that global insured losses for the first half of 2016 reached $31 billion, which is 51% larger than the same period from last year.

With so much activity, you were undoubtedly busy determining your exposure to these events and sending adjusters into the field to assess damage and pay claims as quickly as possible. Now that summer is officially over, it’s a good time to look back at these events to examine your losses sustained, improve your claims response efforts, and identify potential loss drivers to better mitigate future claims costs.

Assessing the impact, thinking ahead

No matter if it’s a flood, hurricane, or wildfire, your first priority during an event is to respond quickly to your insureds. Visualizing which of your policyholders are affected within flood footprints, hurricane paths, and wildfire extents is the starting point to getting the information you need to take action.

During the active summer event season, SpatialKey clients used our event response apps, which integrate data from a variety of third-party providers, including KatRisk, JBA Risk Management, Impact Forecasting, Willis Re, NOAA, GeoMAC, and USGS, to manage their claims response efforts quickly and efficiently.

Not only did clients use our apps to understand events as they were happening, they learned valuable insights about their portfolio performance which they can now use to prepare for future events. With SpatialKey’s geospatial insurance analytics, you can compare your actual claims against forecasts, understand the drivers of loss by looking at hazard and location characteristics, and determine if changes are necessary to your underwriting guidelines.

In addition, you can perform a “what-if” analysis to see how a past event would impact your portfolio if it were to strike today. Sharing a snapshot of what you discover with your exposure management team will give them the data they need to determine appropriate actions to maintain or build a resilient portfolio.

Summer’s end may mean the end of hail season, but as you know, weather patterns are far from predictable. Wildfires continue to burn in California. In addition, hurricane season, which will run through November, could still bring plenty of wind and flood damage. SpatialKey’s Hurricane Forecasts and Past Hurricane Scenarios are always available and up-to-date to  help you prepare for the next tropical storm or hurricane.

Now’s the time to look back at what happened this summer, so you can proactively adjust your underwriting strategies and be prepared to take action during the next big event. To learn more about how SpatialKey can help you better understand and respond to events to reduce your claims costs, contact us today.

Topics: Wildfire, Hurricane, Event Analysis, Flood, Hail, Event response

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