Punxsutawney Phil predicts it's time to reevaluate your underwriting approach

Posted on February 4, 2017 by Jen Smoldt



So, what does Groundhog Day have to do with underwriting?

On February 2nd, Punxsutawney Phil saw his shadow. And, you're probably thinking, "So what does this have to do with my underwriting?" Just bear with the logic for a moment….Do you know how often Phil’s forecasts have been right? If he were right say even 70-80 percent of the time, would you see animal predictions as rooted in science? A sound piece of data perhaps? 

Let’s consider how rodent prognostication works: If Phil sees his shadow, then expect six more weeks of winter; however, no shadow means an early spring. The ritual dates back to 1887 when Phil first shared his meteorological insights and was then quickly devoured as part of the Gobbler’s Knob celebration (ouch, for Phil). Back in the day, there was a belief that Phil’s forecasting was connected to a larger animal consciousness.

The question we’re all asking is: How reliable is Phil, really? We decided to find out.

The Washington Post actually did do the math. They calculated the average daily temperatures during the six weeks after Groundhog Day for the past 30 years and then compared the temperatures in the years when Phil saw his shadow to those in the years that he did not.

Drum roll please…

It turns out that Phil was right more often than not, but only in some cities. The results basically come down to chance because temperatures do not vary uniformly across the country—so Phil is bound to be right and wrong somewhere.

I know what you’re thinking...“This makes sense, but give me a number already!” Stormfax Almanac data suggests Phil’s accuracy is about 39 percent.

There’s only one prognosticating groundhog to make a very broad prediction for the entire country, though. Basically, every region of the country would need its own Phil for any type of accuracy according to The Post’s findings. For example, Punxsutawney Phil and his ancestors have been right only 39 percent, whereas Staten Island Chuck, has an 80 percent accuracy rate.

What’s this mean for your underwriting practices? Paying attention to more than one data source, the accuracy of data, and how it informs predictability can lead you to the right information for more informed decision making. Data and analytics are absolutely critical for accurate risk assessment—or let’s call it “underwriting prognostication” in honor of Groundhog Day.

Remember when Bill Murray woke up to a screeching alarm only to face the same day over and over again in the movie Groundhog Day?

Are you stuck in that same cycle when it comes to underwriting—approaching it the same way as you’ve always been? It’s likely that your practices are “good enough,” so why make a change? Here’s why: Eventually, the lack of moving forward—into a new day—will hinder performance. You will lose a competitive edge by being stuck in the same mode and missing out on key advancements (namely, InsurTech) to move your business forward. Many insurers realize this, that’s why three in four insurance companies—74 percent—believe that some part of their business is at risk of disruption.

In the movie, Bill Murray, who plays a weatherman, is able to accurately predict what will happen next. He can do this because he’s already lived the day before—he’s been there and is able to manipulate every situation to his benefit.

How great would it be if this were true for insurers? Imagine having the power to know exactly what’s going to happen when new business comes in? Being able to know for certain which catastrophes were going to hit (and when) would seriously increase success. But the fact is, risk is the reason insurance exists. People need insurance because they can’t predict the future. Every day in the insurance business is a new day—a new risk. And, anything that can help you more accurately predict risk is good as gold.

There’s a lot of information out there that can help with more accurate risk assessment, the big challenge is bringing it all together to empower more insightful decisions. Which leads us to how the combination of data, analytics, and technology, InsurTech in a nutshell, can enrich your insights for better “underwriting prognostication” (i.e. decisioning) and profitability:

“Insurers that embrace predictive modeling complexity by focusing on data enrichment, advanced analytics and technology can achieve a significant return on their investment,” said Klayton Southwood, director, P&C practice, Willis Towers Watson. “Carriers that catapult beyond their competition do so, in part, by leveraging superior data organization and analysis. For those insurers aspiring to unlock the potential of big data, they must be strategic, persistent and consistent.”

It’s essential to constantly evaluate your current underwriting rituals and determine if they’re still relevant for today or stuck in Groundhog Day. And the good news is, insurers don’t have to be stuck because the new day is offering incredible new solutions.

Like Punxsutawney Phil, and our friend Bill (Murray), you can’t be “holed up” in good enough. You need a broader view to accurately assess and gain insights. It’s time to leverage InsurTech strategies like geospatial insurance analytics which, in the case of SpatialKey, can provide access to a spectrum of content providers along with consistency and collaboration across departments–not to mention real-time insights that bring your data to life and help you make quality decisions. Because, let’s face it, data is useless if we can only see a shadow of it.

Connect with us to find out more about SpatialKey’s underwriting solutions. Or, see SpatialKey in action at the upcoming RAA conference:


Join Jonathan Ward, AVP Risk Services, RLI, and Bret Stone, President, SpatialKey, on February 14 at 4:45 EST. They'll discuss today's underwriting challenges and demonstrate how geospatial insurance analytics has helped RLI harness the power of data to accelerate decisioning and much more. Don't miss it! 


Posted in Insurance, Underwriting, Analytics | Leave a reply

How can 2016 risk inform your 2017 strategy?

Posted on November 21, 2016 by Sarah Stadler


2016 has been a year of growth and evolution here at SpatialKey from enhancing our solution for underwriters, actively monitoring catastrophic events that impacted insurers, and bringing on more 3rd-party data partnerships to fuel our solutions. With 2017 on the horizon, now is the time to reflect on the events of 2016 and understand how they can inform your strategy for 2017.

This year's success  

Enhanced data and analytics for underwriters

We revamped our Underwriting app this year, giving users access to analytics and visualizations for any hazard, such as terror, flood, wind and crime. Underwriters can now access intelligence to inform risk selection, all in one place. Further, our solution offers the flexibility to consume and integrate any 3rd party or in-house content to assist with decision making across the globe.  Uniting data, analytics, and visualizations for underwriters to proactively manage your portfolio at the point of sale is an ongoing effort for SpatialKey, and we’re thrilled to be on the path to making data-driven underwriting a reality for all insurers. Take a look at this webinar recording featuring our terror underwriting solution.

On-time event response for claims
Our clients have been able to stay on top of catastrophe events as they happen by leveraging up-to-date event information from expert sources.  This produces competitive advantage, proactive customer outreach, efficient claims deployment and early intelligence to detect potential claims fraud. Combining timely expert data, visualization, and analytics in one spot offers tangible insight into potential exposure and helps reduce claims costs. Here are some of the notable events we saw this year, and how we visualized them in SpatialKey:

McMurray fire


Hurricane Matthew  Hurricane_Matthew.png

Louisiana floods 


European Windstorm app
We also heard the call from many of our European users to make it possible for them to understand severe windstorms (many of you reading might remember the impact windstorm Kyrill had nearly a decade ago), in SpatialKey. We collaborated with our valued partner, Willis Re, to create a purpose-built app for insurers to easily access, visualize and analyze insureds potentially affected by a storm, track windstorms as they happen with forecast data and event footprints, and overlay event footprints onto portfolio data in one intuitive dashboard. 


More 3rd-party data providers

SpatialKey partners.png
At SpatialKey, we are deeply committed to making sure insurers have the right data at their fingertips, so they can easily analyze and visualize risk in their underwriting, exposure management and claims operations. 2016 brought even more expert data providers to SpatialKey’s platform, including HazardHub, EuroTempest, Location, Inc. and Impact Forecasting. Being a data agnostic platform means that insurers can access the most relevant data and models available in the industry, plus make use of their own in-house hazard, exposure and experience data, to make data-driven decisions for their business. To date, we are proud to have been selected as a value-added partner to these expert firms!

Focused on the power of collaboration 


At SpatialKey, we believe that innovation is delivered with enhanced speed and quality as the result of industry collaboration, allowing each contributor to relentlessly focus in areas of core competence and focus its financial resources.  This collaboration requires involvement from the insurance and the commercial solution provider communities.  Insurers provide the proper business context and focus, while commercial providers work collaboratively to deliver best of breed data and software solutions that link disparate systems and serve up intelligence directly to the business user community.  

Our passionate leaders had a lot to say about that this year. Our CEO, Tom Link, wants to see everyone evolve in how they collaborate in today’s data driven world; our CTO, Brandon Purcell, published an insightful post on the buy vs. build debate and cost of ownership; and our VP of Products, Derek Blum, talked to us about leveraging the right experts to get ahead. Not to be left out, our COO, Bret Stone, authored a white paper on the subject that you can read here.

The point is, we care about working together to move the insurance industry forward, and we’ll always be putting energy and effort into making sure we leverage the experts around us to make SpatialKey solutions even more relevant, insightful and powerful.


Enough about the past, let’s talk about the future

Next year is going to be important for how insurers use technology and data. We will continue to see new technologies and practices emerge. Some of which seek to disrupt traditional practices, but almost all of which, will offer greater efficiency, cost savings, and decision support. Here are three ways we think insurers can stay ahead of the game in 2017:

Leverage technology for competitive advantage


It’s a tough reality to face, but the current soft market may not improve next year.  Additionally, the "low rates" in the soft insurance market pertains to low premium rates. Add to this the fact that interest rates on investments have been particularly low for years and this means that there is even further pressure on underwriting profitability. 2016 saw significant wind, flood and wildfire event losses, and we have no reason to expect that 2017 will be less. InsurTech has been getting a lot of coverage, and the insurance industry is supporting this not only through adoption of new tech, but also injecting capital investment as well to activate new firms and initiatives and their associated innovations. InsurTech solutions have the potential to accelerate the decision making process, enhance data capture and accessibility, and deliver even more expert content.  All leading to efficient, better business. SpatialKey’s ongoing investment in geospatial insurance analytics ensures that insurers can readily access data and technology that support their critical business decisions.

Make rapid, informed and proactive decisions with data


Data loses its power if it’s difficult to access, or worse yet, impossible to interpret. Insurers need data to work for them, not against them. They will continue to demand solutions that help them understand and analyze data quickly, so they can make informed decisions fast. More now than ever, insurers want to move analytics out of the back office and into the hands of the business with easy to use one-stop solutions that enable self-serve analysis of information.  

To that end, in 2017, SpatialKey will continue to commit 100% of its research and development into delivery of well-designed solutions, focused in the areas of underwriting, exposure management and claims.  Additionally, we will continue to seek collaborative partnerships with cat and non-cat expert content and technology providers to offer our clients even more choice and seamless access to the intelligence they need.  

Differentiate yourself through customer service


In addition to the seamless integration of third party data, we see improving customer support and insight as a natural part of event response and as a key trend in 2017. Using data to proactively track a hurricane, wildfire, flood or other catastrophes empowers insurers to act quickly and respond to their insureds with speed and efficiency - amplifying their customer service and retention. In a soft market like today’s, there’s nothing more valuable than serving current customers and maintaining that strong business.

Connect now to learn how you can benefit from SpatialKey solutions

Posted in Wildfire, Hurricane, Underwriting, Flood, Data visualization, windstorm, Collaboration, claims, data partner | Leave a reply

SpatialKey and Impact Forecasting are giving insurers greater access to global peril data

Posted on September 20, 2016 by Sarah Stadler



SpatialKey to include hazard data for more countries

SpatialKey now offers its insurance clients access to global peril data from Impact Forecasting, a catastrophe model development center within Aon Benfield. Designed to highlight potential risks for underwriters and exposure managers, SpatialKey geospatial analytic solutions now seamlessly integrate with expert content from Impact Forecasting. Insurers can now access the same, expert hazard data across both underwriting and exposure management disciplines, enabling them to make more confident business decisions.

“We’re excited to offer our clients access to a greater breadth of global hazard and risk data,” said Bret Stone, COO of SpatialKey. “Insurers rely on expert content to write and manage their exposure. Working with Impact Forecasting means our clients can easily access the information they need to inform their risk management strategies across the globe.”

In 2015, insured catastrophe losses totaled roughly $27 billion, according to the Insurance Information Institute. Risk experts, like Impact Forecasting, and geospatial insurance analytics providers, like SpatialKey, play an increasingly strategic role in helping insurers improve their bottom line. Both companies help insurers perform more accurate underwriting and risk assessment—two key factors in keeping insurers profitable.

Impact Forecasting provides data for eight kinds of perils in more than 60 countries, including emerging markets. With that data integrated into SpatialKey, insurers can identify new market opportunities and gain insights where their competitors lack understanding.

“We’re delighted to make our risk and hazard data models available to SpatialKey clients for the first time,” commented Adam Podlaha, CEO of Impact Forecasting. “Now, underserved markets can easily access, visualize, and analyze the data they need to better manage risk and write more profitable business.”

To learn more, please contact us.

Posted in Press Releases, Insurance, Underwriting | Leave a reply

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

Posted on August 26, 2016 by Heather Munro



Photo credit: www.independent.co.uk

 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

Who needs Q for underwriting gadgets when you have SpatialKey?

Posted on July 18, 2016 by Heather Munro


James_Bond_Blog_5_Image.png Photo credit: alternative007.uk.co

James Bond wouldn’t be James Bond without Q, the British Secret Service’s gadget guru. Whether it’s a space-age jetpack or a briefcase that shoots knives, Q designs one-of-a-kind tools that simplify the job of being Britain’s top secret agent.

Sure, Bond still has to get in a good old-fashioned fist fight now and then, but there’s no question that Q’s high-tech spy gear is his secret weapon. Just like Bond, underwriters have advanced technology to help them stay one step ahead of the competition. It’s called SpatialKey.

Tailor-made for the underwriting process, SpatialKey delivers self-serve analytics that enable you to make faster underwriting decisions. Protecting your portfolio from risk has never been easier, especially when it comes to terror. Here’s why.

Better, off-the-shelf underwriting solutions

Just as Q provides the cutting-edge tech that enables Bond to do what he does best, SpatialKey offers underwriters the sophisticated solutions they need to write profitable risks. Bond wouldn’t build his own solution and neither should you.

Terrorism underwriting has changed significantly since 9/11. Fifteen years ago, geospatial insurance analytics and technology providers weren’t around to solve the problems they can now. SpatialKey was built to fit into the insurance industry workflow. Today, you can quickly assess terrorism risks without the development and maintenance costs associated with creating an in-house solution.

In addition, as technology continues to advance, analytics become increasingly sophisticated. Tapping into insights, especially about accumulations, informs your underwriting decisions like never before. You need a partner like Q to keep your technology up to the minute, so you can stay ahead of the competition.

As savvy underwriters, you understand that to write profitable terror policies, you need to look beyond the total combined risks and understand the specific terrorism threat. To do that, you need insurance technologies that let you access analytics quickly and easily so you can make decisions before a risk hits your books.

Like one of Q’s sophisticated gadgets, SpatialKey makes that possible.


Not only can you can manage your risk accumulation by evaluating prospective risks within the context of your portfolio and claims history, you can visualize and analyze data in near real-time. Additionally, SpatialKey simplifies the process of comparing risks to your overall capacity, so you can remain focused on building a healthier portfolio.

With SpatialKey, you can:

  • Overlay any data that is useful to your underwriting process, including POIs, portfolio exposures, past activity, and claims.
  • Visualize high-interest terrorist targets on a map and evaluate new risks and your accumulations in close proximity.
  • Calculate the peak accumulation and rough loss estimates by “modeling” terrorism using a realistic concentric ring analysis.

Plus, our unmatched user experience enables you to easily access the insights you need to make smarter decisions right out of the gate—there’s no need for extensive training to get started.

Best of all, SpatialKey is a cloud-based Software as a Service (SaaS) solution, which means you and your team are up and running fast. In a matter of hours, you’ll be using SpatialKey to analyze properties against potential bomb threats. What’s more, like Bond depends on Q, you can leave the worry of maintenance and future innovation to us…you’ll always have the best tech to work with.

Underwriters who can leverage the latest insurance analytics solutions will have a distinct advantage over their competitors. Now’s the time to make technology your secret weapon.

Connect today

Discover how to get the intelligence you need to competitively underwrite risk.

Posted in Underwriting | Leave a reply

Confidential: How to proactively manage accumulations at the point of sale

Posted on July 11, 2016 by Heather Munro



Photo credit: countercurrents.com

In every film, James Bond visits the plush office of his no-nonsense boss known simply as M. As head of the Secret Intelligence Service, M is the brains behind Britain’s top secret agent.

Before giving Bond his undercover assignment, M considers the possible scenarios, strategies, and risks that will affect the mission’s outcome. While the films may show M simply cautioning Bond to follow orders, you can bet he analyzes the situation from every angle before deciding to send him out into the field.

Like M, underwriters spend their days analyzing multiple risks and using their instincts to make critical decisions. When reviewing risks to your portfolio, accumulations are most likely your top concern. Here’s how you can easily avoid adverse concentrations, especially when it comes to terror.

Proactively manage risk accumulations before they hit your books

You don’t have to be James Bond to know that heavily concentrated risks can have catastrophic outcomes. Assessing how all lines of business could be affected by a single event, also known as managing accumulations for the possibility of clash, is an important insurance underwriting strategy.

Not only have past terrorist attacks caused commercial property and life insurance losses, they have affected liability, personal property, fine art, health insurance, workers compensation, auto, and aviation coverages. Performing multi-line analysis is critical to writing a profitable book of business.

Insurers have used a variety of solutions to understand existing portfolio accumulations and establish comfortable limits. When writing new business, underwriters use accumulation management solutions that proactively check limits to stop accumulations from emerging in the first place. SpatialKey allows you to not only benchmark existing portfolio accumulations but check for new ones during the underwriting process.

Like one of Bond’s gadgets made especially for spy missions, SpatialKey is tailor-made for underwriting workflows. You can easily evaluate risk within the context of your current portfolio and claims history, manage within available capacity, and focus on building a healthier portfolio.


Traditional mapping tools offer limited capabilities. SpatialKey, as the leader in geospatial insurance analytics, brings meaningful insights to life with maps that do more.

With SpatialKey, you will:

  • Display a schedule of locations on a map and perform an analysis to identify peak accumulations of exposure
  • Calculate the peak accumulation and rough loss estimates by “modeling” terrorism using a realistic concentric ring analysis
  • Apply varying damage levels to insured locations within specified distances from a potential terrorist attack centroid

Using scenario analysis and concentric ring footprints to determine loss estimates can give you the actionable information you need to keep bad risks from hitting your books.

While it’s best to leave fighting terrorists to MI6, you can approach terrorism underwriting strategically and proactively. Underwriters who carefully manage accumulation risks will do their part to contribute to a healthy and profitable portfolio.

Connect today

Discover how to get the intelligence you need to competitively underwrite risk.

Posted in Underwriting | Leave a reply

Every underwriter needs a Miss Moneypenny on their side

Posted on July 5, 2016 by Heather Munro



Photo credit: 007james.com

Whether it’s plane tickets, top-secret passwords, or detailed instructions from M, Miss Moneypenny is always there to support James Bond with the critical information he needs to carry out his mission. Is it any wonder Bond was so smitten with the smart, efficient MI6 secretary?

Just like Bond, underwriters need someone on their side who understands their unique vocation. Insurance technologies such as SpatialKey are purpose-built for an underwriter’s unique process, making risk selection as streamlined as if Q himself had developed the solution.

SpatialKey makes accessing accurate, relevant data easier, so you can spend more time using your instincts to evaluate the best risks. For help writing a profitable book of business—especially when it comes to terror—read on.

Write terrorism like you are retaining it, because you probably will

While the dangers Bond faces are extreme, underwriters should assess the risks of more conventional attacks, not worst-case scenarios. Terrorism underwriting for commercial properties comes with fewer options for transferring risks than natural catastrophes like flood, hurricane, and hail, so it’s more important than ever to feel confident about your underwriting decisions.

Without a robust terrorism risk transfer market, you are understandably reluctant to place a probability on terrorist events. Like Bond on a mission, who can't rely on reinforcements arriving, you can't assume reinsurers and investors/capital markets will back you up.

Another challenge? Insurers in the U.S. are mandated to offer terrorism insurance. The fact that the U.S. government (as well as other countries that have terrorist attack risk) provides a financial guarantee for extreme attack losses makes pricing terrorism insurance that much harder. Especially because terrorism risks are dynamic and the historical record is small and partly irrelevant.

You can add profitable terrorism coverage to your portfolio and stay ahead of your competition. The key is to make smart underwriting decisions. But you can’t do it alone. Enter: Moneypenny.

Just as Miss Moneypenny is loyal to “Queen and Country,” SpatialKey is dedicated to insurers. Designed specifically for the insurance industry workflow, SpatialKey helps you evaluate terrorism threats and determine the impact to your portfolio, enabling you to:

  • Manage and set threshold levels as part of underwriting criteria
  • Determine the impact on accumulations and terrorism footprints
  • Assess the impact a new risk will have on a portfolio’s total exposed limits within a small geographic area

You can also run your analysis based on specific metrics in your portfolio, on exposed limits, or on a specific area of interest within custom geographic extents.

Additionally, SpatialKey assists you in diving deeper into accumulations to get a more accurate view of terror risks. Our rings and target features go far beyond traditional mapping tools and allow you to:

  • Identify and evaluate peak accumulations of exposure within your portfolio
  • Analyze your portfolio against activity, high-interest properties, or historical terror claims
  • Look at terror target datasets (locations identified as having terrorism risk such as skyscrapers, churches, train stations, etc.)

Having the ability to derive meaningful insights on potential terror accumulations—as you already do with weather-related perils—keeps you at the top of your game.

Support staff like Miss Moneypenny may be hard to come by these days, but fortunately, SpatialKey is the next best thing to having a personal assistant who understands what you need to write a healthy portfolio.

Connect today

Discover how to get the intelligence you need to competitively underwrite risk.

Posted in Underwriting | Leave a reply

How to be the 007 of underwriting

Posted on June 20, 2016 by Heather Munro



Photo credit: fullhdpix.com Photo credit: fullhdpix.com

James Bond makes it look so easy. Whether he’s sneaking into a super villain’s secret hideout, skiing down a mountain pursued by assassins, or matching wits with a femme fatale, he never breaks a sweat.

If you watch closely, however, there’s a reason he always lands on his feet—and it’s not just because of camera angles and Hollywood tricks. As he secretly scuba dives onto a private island, he makes sure to use all of the relevant information at his disposal. The amount of oxygen in his tank, the number of miles to shore, the best location to make landfall—these are the critical data points he needs to plan his approach.

While the data is critical to his mission, it’s Bond’s intuition that will help him carry it out. Bond’s gut tells him to look back on his way to the island, and he sees the enemy henchmen in time to stop their pursuit.

Like Bond, underwriters rely on both key information and their best judgement to get the job done. Here’s how you can easily use the most relevant data to write the best, most profitable risks, especially when it comes to terror.

Use the most advanced technology

Whether it’s a poisonous-dart-shooting watch or a car armed with lasers, Bond has access to tech that does more than you expect. So do you. Today, sophisticated analytics designed specifically for the insurance workflow can help you improve your terrorism underwriting, diversification, and overall profitability.

We have created a solution built for the Bonds of underwriting. SpatialKey Underwriting enables you to immediately determine the contribution to your portfolio from a single, interactive environment.

Terror 1 Blog_Screen Shot 2016-06-17 at 1.31.16 PM

Just imagine:

  • Visualizing high-interest terrorist targets on a map and the proximity of new and/or existing locations to them.
  • Observing details about potential targets, such as a skyscraper and its surrounding building environment.
  • Displaying a schedule of locations on a map and performing an analysis to identify peak accumulations of exposure.

Having the ability to derive meaningful insights from multiple sources of information—and being able to do so quickly with self-serve analytics—keeps you at the top of your game. Using your intuition about these insights keeps you ahead of your competition.

Know your location inside and out

The beginning of every 007 mission usually begins in M’s office, where Bond receives his confidential orders to travel to dangerous parts of the world. As Britain’s top secret agent, Bond never begins an assignment without understanding the territory he’s about to enter. As a terrorism underwriter, neither should you. Fortunately, you don’t need M to get the relevant information you need.

When it comes to assessing a terrorism risk, location is one of the most important factors to consider. After all, what’s near your insured’s property—iconic landmarks, public transportation stations, and other potential targets—could increase the likelihood of an attack. The more you know about the locations you are insuring, the more accurately you can price the risk.

Data is meaningless, however, if you can’t make sense of it. Using geospatial insurance analytics to visualize what’s in and around the area you’re considering bringing into your portfolio is a key first step to making a confident decision. Just as you use past event data to better understand a potential weather catastrophe risk, using keen visualizations and analytics to evaluate a potential bomb blast equips you with the right information to avoid making a blind decision.

Rely on the experts

Just like Bond gets classified intel from the brains at MI6, you, too, have partners you can lean on for pertinent information. You can gain insight into the location of a potential attack from modeling firms like IHS, RMS, or Verisk as well as data providers who compile lists of probable targets. You can then visualize that data to understand exactly how it impacts a specific location.

Armed with this information, you can quote rates commensurate with the level of risk and differentiate between office buildings in different parts of the world and price their policies accordingly. Replacing doubt with compelling information brings science to the art of terror underwriting, where you can more quickly decide the best path forward for your business.

While none of us, not even James Bond, know where the next terrorist attack will take place, we do know that one will. Underwriters who can suit up and perform more like a quick-thinking secret agent, will be the ones to reap potential profitable business opportunities.

Connect today
Discover how to get the intelligence you need to competitively underwrite risk.

Posted in Insurance, Underwriting | Leave a reply

Brussels Attack Highlights Need for Sophisticated Insurance Analytics Tools

Posted on April 4, 2016 by Sarah Stadler


Photo credit: REUTERS/Charles Plateau. Photo credit: REUTERS/Charles Plateau.

Sadly, the recent bombings in Brussels—just a few months after the attacks in Paris—are a grim reminder that terrorism has become a fact of life in Western cities.

For Property & Casualty insurers, this unfortunate reality means keeping terrorism risk top of mind when underwriting properties. The three coordinated explosions in Brussels—two at Zaventem Airport and one at Maelbeek metro station—underscore the complex nature of terrorism risk.

To help underwriters write terror risk with more confidence, SpatialKey has added concentric ring models that simulate realistic bomb blast scenarios and provide insurers with more accurate risk assessments.

Get a More Accurate View of Terror Risk

From a single, interactive environment, SpatialKey helps you quickly evaluate terror risk and the impact on your portfolio.

With the new concentric rings models, you can evaluate the worst case scenario—or peak accumulation—if an attack, such as a bomb, were to go off near prospective locations. The model simulates damage radiating away from a bomb blast, so you can see complete or partial damage diminishing as buildings get further away from the original blast site.

“We developed the concentric rings model because our clients and prospects recognized the need to consider terrorism risk in their underwriting and portfolio management processes,” explains SpatialKey Product Manager Angie Olivero. “And now they can differentiate the damages within different radii for a richer understanding of terror accumulations.”

SpatialKey Terror UW Concentric Rings

In addition, SpatialKey gives you the option to run your analysis based on specific metrics in your portfolio, on exposed limits, or on a specific area of interest within custom geographic extents.

And with the SpatialKey Accumulations app, you can dive deeper into terrorism risks using the Rings and Target features, which allow you to:

    • Identify and evaluate peak accumulations of exposure within your portfolio
    • Analyze your portfolio against activity, high-interest properties, or historical terror claims
    • Look at terror target datasets (locations identified as having terrorism risk such as skyscrapers, churches, train stations, etc.)

SpatialKey Terror UW Accumulations

And thanks to an advanced understanding of exposure concentrations, including where terror attacks are most likely to occur, you can analyze your current book of business and apply guidelines to select profitable new business.

What’s more, SpatialKey can help you evaluate the potential for claims given a recent or future terrorist attack. By considering attacks at credible terrorist targets, insurers can begin to understand their overall risk and formulate a claims response plan.

To learn more about how SpatialKey can help you feel confident writing terror risks and minimize the impact on your portfolio, contact us today.

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SpatialKey Selected by ProSight Specialty to Advance Underwriting Practices Through Data Analytics and Visualization

Posted on October 20, 2015 by Sarah Stadler


London, October 20, 2015 – SpatialKey Inc. (SpatialKey) is providing ProSight Specialty Underwriters Ltd. (ProSight) with intuitive, geospatial analytics and visualization for its underwriting team and coverholders.

SpatialKey’s Underwriting solution provides analytics and visualizations tailored to the underwriting workflow, enabling ProSight and its coverholders to consistently and confidently underwrite across multiple commercial programs. Specifically, ProSight is accessing rich data analytics, coupled with high quality data from natural hazard experts, JBA Risk Management (JBA), to select and price risks, manage accumulations and calibrate underwriting strategy.

“Developing a complete understanding of risk when evaluating prospective insureds is an essential component of our underwriting practice as we proactively manage our portfolio at the point of sale. SpatialKey and JBA provide an integrated solution we can trust and help us gain competitive advantage, deliver underwriting profit and reduce downstream claims and reinsurance costs.” Rob Saxon, Underwriting Control Manager, ProSight

“We are delighted to have been adopted by ProSight and their coverholders as a best practice to enhance ProSight’s profitability and execute their underwriting strategy. We look forward to driving continued innovation through our products and partnerships as a result of the work we are doing with ProSight.“ Bret Stone, COO, SpatialKey

About SpatialKey

SpatialKey is reinventing the way insurers transform data into actionable intelligence. SpatialKey solutions amplify the value of insured data and expert content through unmatched user experiences and breakthrough geospatial business intelligence. Through focused analytics and agile visualizations, SpatialKey helps more than 100 insurers understand global risk accumulations and composition, respond to live catastrophe events, and manage exposure proactively at the point of underwriting. For more information visit spatialkey.com.

Posted in Press Releases, Press, Insurance, Underwriting, Analytics, Data visualization | Leave a reply