Hurricane Matthew by the numbers: What we know so far

Posted on October 12, 2016 by Heather Munro




Blue skies may be back, but the impact from Hurricane Matthew is still being felt. As your claims team works around the clock managing your event response, information on the extent of the damage is critical to your ability to respond as quickly as possible.

SpatialKey seamlessly integrates the latest event footprints from third-party data providers like KatRisk, Impact Forecasting, and NOAA so you have access to the up-to-date data you need to take action. You’ll be glad to know that footprints for wind, surge and inland flood for Hurricane Matthew from KatRisk are now integrated within SpatialKey and available for use.

Below, we’ve rounded up the latest statistics on the initial losses from Matthew, so you can continue to evaluate the impact of the storm on your book of business.

Risk modelling firm CoreLogic estimates insured losses from Matthew will likely range between $4 and $6 billion. CoreLogic’s initial figure includes losses from wind and storm surge, but not additional flooding, business interruption or building contents. The firm also places the storm’s losses higher than hurricanes Floyd (1999) and David (1979), but well below hurricanes Katrina (2005) and Sandy (2012).

On top of losses from wind and storm surge, early estimates indicate that the evacuations may result in $10 to $15 billion in losses from economic disruption, according to Chuck Watson, a disaster modeler with Enki Research.

Hurricane Matthew was notable for ending a nine-year streak without an Atlantic Basin Category 5 hurricane. The powerful storm, which weakened as it moved from Haiti to the U.S., forced three million people to evacuate. By the time it was over, it had caused coastal erosion, wind damage, and freshwater flooding across five states, including Florida, Georgia, North Carolina, South Carolina, and Virginia. 


 In North Carolina, rising flood waters threatened more than 1,500 people in need of rescuing. Photo credit: Associated Press

In the Caribbean, Matthew reached Category 5 status with peak gusts up to 166 mph. Haiti was the hardest hit, with more than 1,000 people killed. Now, a resulting cholera outbreak threatens to cause further devastation in an area with history of earthquakes and hurricanes and a low insurance penetration rate.

At the height of the storm, about 2.2 million people—1 million in Florida alone— lost power.


 Images from NASA showing power outages during Hurricane Matthew. Photo credit: NASA

Peak wind gusts in the U.S. during Matthew ranged from 69 to 107 mph. At press time, the latest U.S. death toll is 33, but that number could go up as flooding continues over the next few days.

Outside of power loss and severe winds, storm surge was another significant concern. Fernandina Beach, Florida experienced a storm surge of 9.88 feet above normal, and Ft. Pulaski, Georgia encountered record tide levels and a storm surge just under eight feet.

While it’s too early to tally Matthew’s total impact in the U.S., insured losses will undoubtedly increase due to flooding, especially in North Carolina where flooded rivers that wash through farms and coal ash sites may spread toxins through miles of waterways.

The American Red Cross is already spearheading recovery efforts for the many people affected by the powerful event. To support this effort or learn more about how you can help, click here.

In the meantime, as your claims adjusters manage the growing number of claims, remember SpatialKey can help. To find out more or to access the latest Hurricane Matthew data and analyze it against your own portfolio in SpatialKey, contact us today.

Posted in Hurricane, Insurance, Flood, Event response | Leave a reply

Category 3 Hurricane Matthew barrels toward Southeastern US: How insurers can act now with confidence

Posted on October 5, 2016 by Heather Munro



Screen_Shot_2016-10-05_at_3.33.15_PM.pngEasily track Hurricane Matthew’s storm path in SpatialKey.

As the most powerful Atlantic storm since 2007, Hurricane Matthew is the first Category 3 hurricane to make landfall in Haiti in 52 years. Forecasters are predicting Matthew will continue to head north towards Florida, Georgia, South Carolina, and North Carolina starting Thursday evening. Florida and South Carolina have already begun evacuations, as the states prepare for the possibility of significant wind and storm surge damage.

As you know, meteorologists have some sense of what might happen, but weather patterns can change quickly. The hurricane could strengthen or weaken, head out to sea or reverse course and veer inland. Forecasters identify the most likely track of the storm as it evolves, but the uncertainty increases as they project further into the future. The cone of uncertainty, at it’s typically called, captures the fact that we may see changes in speed, size, severity, and direction.

As the storm unfolds, analyzing Hurricane Matthew’s storm track against your own portfolio data will help you quickly prepare for the event.

  1. Access Hurricane Matthew’s current storm path to outline your plan of action. Once you have the storm path, which is provided by NOAA and seamlessly integrated within SpatialKey, you can track the storm as it’s happening and efficiently manage your event response.
  2. Understand your exposure concentration to not only to determine the potential claims costs, but to effectively mobilize your claims team to respond to insureds. To quantify how much is likely to be exposed to hurricane-force winds, you can filter and segment that data based on characteristics, such as wind speed, construction type, or line of business.
  3. Evaluate the path of the storm and run what-if scenarios to understand the potential impact to your portfolio. As the storm shifts, accessing the latest data will help your team respond to senior management and support business operations as quickly as possible.

It’s important to understand that about one-third of the time, the most intense winds and storm surge impacts associated with the storm will veer outside of the cone of uncertainty, according to the National Hurricane Center. All the more reason to stay on alert—and track the storm— as Hurricane Matthew unfolds. Using  SpatialKey’s Hurricane Forecast app can help you turn the cone of uncertainty into decisive action. 

To find out more about accessing the latest Hurricane Matthew data and analyzing it against your own portfolio in SpatialKey, contact us today.

Posted in Hurricane, Event response | Leave a reply

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

Posted on September 30, 2016 by Heather Munro



Photo credit:

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.
Posted in Wildfire, Hurricane, Event Analysis, Flood, Hail, Event response | Leave a reply

Devastating earthquake hits central Italy: Respond now and plan for tomorrow

Posted on August 26, 2016 by Heather Munro


Photo credit:

 A magnitude-6.0 earthquake rocked central Italy early Wednesday morning, killing more than 260 people. Losses are expected to be below that of the 2009 L’Aquila event, which Willis Re estimated to have £502 million in insured losses. The quake could be felt as far away as Bologna to the north and Naples to the south, and devastated centuries-old towns where historic churches and monuments dot the landscape.

The picturesque village of Amatrice was particularly hard hit, with the mayor telling The Guardian that “half of the town no longer exists.” The town of L’Aquila, which lost 300 residents during the earthquake in 2009, has promised to take in the hundreds left homeless in Amatrice.

As your insureds in Italy focus on rescue efforts and begin the grim task of sifting through the rubble left behind, you can get a more complete view of your potential exposure—and market opportunities—throughout the region.

Understand and act quickly on the impact to your portfolio

Centered about 110 kilometers northeast of Rome and about 35 kilometers north of the deadly magnitude 6.3 earthquake that hit L’Aquila in 2009, the Istituto Nazionale di Geofisica e Vulcanologia (INGV) estimates a magnitude of 6.0 and depth of 4 kilometers. Shallow earthquakes like these generally cause more damage, as was the case here.

To help you understand the extent of this and prior events, SpatialKey includes shakemaps from the U.S. Geological Survey (USGS) global library of earthquake footprints, which show the impact in and around the epicenter. You can easily visualize which policyholders have been affected and begin mobilizing your claims team to respond as quickly as possible.

Willis Re is already providing insurance companies with an assessment of their potentially affected risks by providing event-response analytics with SpatialKey.

“We have been assisting insurers in visualizing the event and their insured risks that are likely to have been affected,” explains Tim Edwards, Head of Europe, Willis Re Catastrophe Analytics. “We have applied the latest USGS event footprint in SpatialKey to individual client portfolios. This enables the identification of potential policies impacted by the most severe shaking intensities, including net exposures after earthquake indemnity limits. This has allowed insurers to work with their claims teams, senior management, and reinsurers and respond in a timely fashion.”

The image below is an example of the types of value-added analytics Willis Re delivers to its clients to support their event response efforts.



The epicenter was not within a major urban center, and losses from commercial and industrial facilities are expected to be low. Many Italian families, however, flock to the Apennines mountain region in summer, causing populations to double or triple this time of year—a seasonal factor that undoubtedly contributed to the hundreds of lives lost.

Following the quake, about 200 aftershocks rippled throughout the region, most likely causing more damage to many historic buildings because of shakes, fires, and landslides. Evaluating the impacted areas now to determine if the damage occurred from the initial and subsequent quakes will arm your claims team with the information they need to combat possible fraud in the coming weeks.

With risk, comes opportunity

As you wait for the dust to settle and the claims to begin coming in, you can use SpatialKey to easily display areas where past or future hazard severity may be indicative of loss potential. You can also get a better understanding of your potential exposure by portfolio segment, policy, location, or any attribute within your portfolio data.

Italy is one of the most earthquake-prone countries in Europe, and has documented at least 400 damaging earthquakes in the last 2,000 years. According to Axco, a recent Swiss Re report suggests that only one percent of private households have earthquake coverage, which is heavily limited.

What’s more, the 2009 L’Aquila earthquake made it clear that the Italian government can no longer act as the “insurer of last resort.”

In countries like Italy, it's important to visualize locations of older buildings because many were built before earthquake codes were in place. Savvy insurers looking for ways to pick higher quality risks are leveraging state-of-the-art tools like SpatialKey, and accessing multiple data sources to make informed underwriting decisions and write more earthquake coverage.

Now is the time to begin revising your underwriting guidelines to prepare for what could become a growing private insurance market. This latest earthquake may be just the catalyst to spur Italians to look for coverage—and you’ll want to be ready to write profitable business before your competitors.

To learn more about how SpatialKey can help you manage and grow your earthquake portfolio, contact us today. 

Posted in Underwriting, Earthquake, Event response | Leave a reply

Japan’s Latest Earthquakes Underscore Complexities for Insurers

Posted on April 16, 2016 by Sarah Stadler


Photo Credit: Koji Harada/Kyodo News via AP. Photo Credit: Koji Harada/Kyodo News via AP.

Located on the edge of what's known as the “Ring of Fire”—a stretch of the Pacific Ocean prone to volcanoes and earthquakes—Japan is one of the world’s most quake-prone countries.

Last week’s 6.2 and 7.0 magnitude earthquakes—which occurred just two days apart— left nine people dead and thousands injured in southern Japan. Aftershocks continued to rock the area, with a tsunami warning issued for about an hour before being lifted.

For insurers, having a visual understanding of an earthquake's shake footprint, which shows the impact in and around the epicenter, sheds light on where to focus first—in Japan, the U.S., or across the world. And determining which policyholders have been affected can be difficult because debris can block access to the area. Not to mention that aftershocks can continue to cause structural damage from shake, fires, and sprinkler systems for days after the initial quake.

SpatialKey can help you quantify and manage your exposure to earthquake risk, plus identify insureds potentially impacted immediately following an event, so you can mobilize your claims team for the fastest possible response.

Proactively Manage Your Earthquake Risk

Seamlessly integrated with shakemaps from the U.S. Geological Survey (USGS) global library of earthquake footprints, SpatialKey allows you to evaluate the impact of an event. You can quantify your potential exposure by portfolio segment, policy, location, or any attribute within your portfolio data.


Even better, you can also filter by ground-shaking severity (e.g. peak ground velocity, peak ground acceleration, and the Modified Mercalli Index) to see which locations are in the areas most likely to experience damage.

And, by using live event data from the USGS to formulate an event response plan, you can base your response on the most accurate data available, helping you mobilize claims personnel and track claims as they come in following an earthquake

With SpatialKey you can also:

  • Gain additional insights into the distribution and composition of your exposure data, measured by TIV, Exposed Limit, and other metrics.
  • Calibrate your view of risk and risk management strategy by evaluating loss potential against historical and hypothetical earthquake scenarios.
  • View each insured and its associated data in the context of the event—and share impacted exposures with claims and analytic teams.

To learn more about how SpatialKey’s robust data, crisp visualizations, and unmatched user experience can help you improve how you manage claims for better customer retention, contact us today.

Posted in Earthquake, Event response | Leave a reply

Texas Storm Signals Hail Season in Full Swing for Insurers

Posted on March 25, 2016 by Sarah Stadler


rsz_hail_damage Image courtesy of

Golf-ball sized hail roared through Dallas/Fort Worth on Wednesday, marking the second storm for the area in nearly a week. Insurers know only too well that this is just the beginning of a busy season.

While it’s too soon to know the latest storm’s losses, the previous week’s storm caused an estimated $600 million in insured losses, according to the Insurance Council of Texas.

With such a large number of claims filed in just over a week, assessing the damages and responding to policyholders as quickly as possible will be a challenge. The last thing you need is clunky software slowing you down.

SpatialKey gives you seamless access to intuitive analytics and expert hail data in one spot, making it easier to mobilize your claims teams and quickly help your customers.

Understand the Potential Impact of Hail Events

What makes SpatialKey different? For starters, it’s seamlessly integrated with Weather Verification Services from CoreLogic® to help you quickly assess the potential impact of recent or past hailstorms and understand damage severity based on hail size.


You can also filter by hail size for insight into potential damage to various areas and classes of business. Understanding damage severity helps you manage claims reserves and gives you a clear vision of what kind of damage your portfolio might experience.


Finally, you can coalesce all of this information in one view with robust, purpose-built analytics to bring your full analysis to life and make truly data-driven business decisions.


To learn more about how SpatialKey’s robust data, crisp visualizations, and industry-leading user experience can help you improve your policyholders’ claims experience, contact us today.

Posted in Visualization, Hail, Event response | Leave a reply

Hurricane Patricia Shaping up to be the Strongest Hurricane in History

Posted on October 23, 2015 by Sarah Stadler


Rapidly turning into a category 5 storm overnight, Hurricane Patricia is nearing the coast of Mexico with wind speeds of up to 200mph. Hurricane Ike topped out at 143mph, and Andrew at 175mph, leaving Patricia as the strongest hurricane ever recorded. With landfall expected this afternoon or evening, properties are bound to be destroyed, and insurers are preparing themselves for the impact.

Hurricane Patricia Wind Pattern - SpatialKey

50,000 people are being evacuated, and the town of Manzanilla is right on Patricia’s path. According to reports from CNN, a 30-foot storm surge is expected in Manzanilla’s bay, which is likely to cause flooding and landslides. Puerto Vallarta and Acapulco are the closest resort towns, and some are predicting that Puerto Vallarta will see winds up to 75mph - many businesses there are preparing for the storm by boarding and taping up windows. Our thoughts are with everyone bracing for such a devastating storm.

Wind speed visualized
Patricia’s winds are record-setting, clocking in at 200mph and holding steady - enough to carry an airplane and keep it in flight, according to World Meteorological Organization spokeswoman Clare Nullis. We can see here that a number of properties are vulnerable to the potential destruction from the combination of wind and water that this hurricane is predicted to produce.

Hurricane Patricia Potential Impact - SpatialKey

How this could impact your portfolio
With resort towns Puerto Vallarta and Acapulco threatened, insurers are likely to see some potential property claims after the storm clears. Understanding how much of your portfolio is exposed helps you figure out what to do next. With our direct integration with NOAA, insurers can immediately track the storm as updates are released. We’re here to help - contact us now.

Posted in weather, Hurricane, Insurance, Visualization, Analytics, Data visualization, Event response | Leave a reply

Analyzing the floods in France: how is your portfolio being impacted?

Posted on October 18, 2015 by Sarah Stadler


A couple of weeks have passed since the flooding along the French Riviera on October 3rd and 4th, and re/insurers are inundated with claims and working to quantify their exposure and lend assistance to insureds.


Exceptional rainfall (up to 18cm in Cannes) was experienced in just a few hours along France's southeastern Mediterranean coast, resulting in considerable flash flooding. The French-Alpes Maritime region police said that 20 people are confirmed dead, the Association Francaise de l’Assurance expects more than 60,000 insurance claims, and Caisse Centrale de Reassurance (CCR) estimates insurance industry losses of up to €650M ($740M).

JBA Risk Management has issued a detailed (10 meter resolution) flood footprint for this region that captures the flood extent and associated depth and velocity information. According to JBA, “During surface water flood events, it is the combination of water depth and rapid water flow which causes the major threat to people and property.” JBA’s footprint is now available for analysis within SpatialKey.

Here, we see the various depths of water throughout the impacted regions, providing insight into which insureds could potentially have the most damage. Understanding where the water is and how deep it goes, helps you prioritize where to focus first.


As we further analyze, we gain a greater understanding of how major cities are specifically impacted, with visualized summaries simplifying the data for us.


Get in touch
We know it’s your top priority to mobilize your teams to help your insureds. In collaboration with JBA, we’re here to help you assess the impact of the French Riviera floods as quickly as possible, so you can focus on aiding your customers. Reach out today to learn more.

Posted in Insurance, Event Analysis, Flood, Analytics, Event response | Leave a reply

Understand the depth of your exposure to South Carolina flooding

Posted on October 8, 2015 by Sarah Stadler


The flooding in South Carolina was summed up best by Governor Nikki Haley when she called it, “a storm of historic proportions.” With the rains calming, residents and insurers are doing everything they can to determine next steps. Our insurance clients are turning to us to understand potential flooding experienced by their insureds.

SC_Flood Source:

In collaboration with KatRisk, we are able to offer a solution to help you understand your potential exposure to flooding. KatRisk has produced a footprint that represents the modeled potential flooding extent in South Carolina given the recent extreme precipitation. Currently, the exact extent of the flood and the locations of affected properties are not known, but SpatialKey can help you identify and manage those risks that may be of concern.

Where the water stands vs. how deep it goes

A large portion of South Carolina is currently exposed to significant flooding, and being able to see areas with the most severe flooding helps you know where to deploy your claims resources first. Using a sample portfolio, we see that there is $42M of potential exposure to flood depths greater than approximately 1 foot, most heavily concentrated in coastal counties.

South Carolina Flood Depths via SpatialKey and KatRisk

Quantifying your potential exposure

A quick analysis will reveal your potential exposure for properties that could be impacted by significant flooding. For example, this image shows potential Exposed Limits of $3.1M for policies with properties in Horry County where flooding may be greater than 1 meter (~3¼ feet). Knowing where your potentially most severely affected properties are helps you prioritize your efforts.

Quantifying potential exposure to South Carolina flood via SpatialKey and KatRisk

Satellite mapping with flood depth data

Getting a bird’s eye view via a satellite map with flood depth overlays brings South Carolina to life and helps you visualize exposed locations. Here, we see a number of locations in Horry County exposed to some of the potentially deepest water. It's easy to quickly share insured information directly with your regional claims teams, so they can mobilize their response efficiently.

Satellite mapping with South Carolina flood data via SpatialKey and KatRisk

Get in touch

We know it’s your top priority to mobilize your teams to help your insureds. In collaboration with KatRisk, we’re here to help you assess the impact of the South Carolina floods as quickly as possible, so you can focus on aiding your customers. Reach out today to learn more.

Posted in Insurance, Flood, Analytics, Event response | Leave a reply

What next? Assessing the damage after the M8.3 earthquake in Chile

Posted on September 23, 2015 by Sarah Stadler


Last week, Chile was shaken by a significant earthquake along its central coast. According to catastrophe modeling firm AIR Worldwide, an estimated $600-$900 million in insured losses is expected.

Image credit: Martin Bernetti/AFP/Getty Images

How far does the damage spread?

This quake impacted a large radius surrounding where it struck with significant shaking felt in the nation’s capital of Santiago. Having a visual understanding of the magnitude of impact in and around the epicenter helps our clients know where to focus first. Our Earthquake app provides insurers with near real-time intelligence via shakemaps from the U.S. Geological Survey, so they can easily see and quantify the potential exposure from the event and associated aftershocks and make the most informed decisions for their customers and business.

Get in touch today. We’ll help you evaluate your exposure to the Chile earthquake, so you can effectively communicate the potential impact to stakeholders and expedite relief to your insureds.


Posted in Visualization, Earthquake, Event response | Leave a reply