How can 2016 risk inform your 2017 strategy?

Posted on November 21, 2016 by Sarah Stadler

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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

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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

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Hurricane Matthew  Hurricane_Matthew.png

Louisiana floods 

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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. 

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More 3rd-party data providers

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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 

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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

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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

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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

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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 HazardHub collaborate to give insurers easier access to hazard data

Posted on November 1, 2016 by Sarah Stadler

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SpatialKey Inc. (SpatialKey) is pleased to offer its insurance clients access to hazard data from HazardHub, a risk data provider. HazardHub specializes in developing proprietary models and processing past event data to help underwriters and exposure managers better understand the probability of future property damage, in order to write profitable business and maintain a strong portfolio.

HazardHub’s expert data is the latest to be seamlessly integrated into SpatialKey’s geospatial analytics solution. The integration complements SpatialKey’s applications designed specifically for insurers, and helps underwriters and exposure managers better visualize risk and understand exposure alongside hazard data. Clients can now easily layer on the HazardHub data from straight-line wind, hail, and tornado to new policy submissions during the risk analysis process and make more informed decisions. Additional hazards from HazardHub, such as wildfire, earthquake and hurricane, will be added to SpatialKey Underwriting and Hazard Analyst applications within the next few months.

HazardHub’s team of experienced data scientists translate, create, and deploy large volumes of geospatial data from past events that are translated into scores that represent future risk potential.

“Working with SpatialKey offers insurers a seamless way to visualize and analyze our data without the heavy lifting of having to integrate it into their own systems,” said Bob Frady, CEO and Founder, HazardHub. “This collaboration offers the marketplace an innovative approach to consuming and understanding hazard data without the need for internal GIS systems or expertise."

With Insurance Journal reporting that catastrophes contributed to increased underwriting losses during the first half of 2016, high-quality hazard data is increasingly valuable to insurers. The partnership between SpatialKey and HazardHub simplifies the process of deriving meaningful insights from hazard data for insurers so they can focus on driving underwriting profits.

“We’re delighted to expand SpatialKey’s hazard data offerings for underwriters and exposure managers in the U.S.,” said Bret Stone, COO, SpatialKey. “With HazardHub data seamlessly integrated within SpatialKey, our clients can easily access and analyze relevant data to better pinpoint new business opportunities in an increasingly competitive market.”

Posted in Wildfire, Press Releases, Hurricane, Partnerships, Earthquake, Hail, tornado, wind | Leave a reply

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

Posted on September 30, 2016 by Heather Munro

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

Learn why wildfires create a burning need for technology

Posted on July 19, 2016 by Heather Munro

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Not only was 2015 a record year for the number of acres burned in the U.S., it generated the second largest insured loss in more than 12 years. Nearly 70,000 wildfires occurred and in almost every single state—making wildfire claims inevitable for most insurers. Now’s the time to make sure you are using every tool at your disposal to manage wildfire’s impact on your book of business.

With the 2016 wildfire season underway, and the McMurray Wildfire holding the title for the largest catastrophe in Canadian history, insurers are watching and evaluating current outbreaks closely. Conditions are ripe for an active wildfire season this year. Five years of drought in California and 100-plus temperatures in several Western states are fueling fires across the region. As we post this, firefighters are battling at least nine fires in California and five blazes across Colorado.

Wildfires are increasing and wildfire season is getting longer in the Western U.S., according to the Union of Concerned Scientists. Even as insurers must contend with these more frequent events, wildfires remain unpredictable. But thanks to SpatialKey, your game plan doesn’t have to be.

Understand and respond to wildfires as they unfold

When it comes to wildfires, every minute counts. Wind gusts can spread fire rapidly, increasing the extent of the blaze, which may mean you need to update your loss scenarios based on real-time data.

SpatialKey allows you to do just that by giving you access to up-to-the-minute fire perimeters from GeoMAC, so you can quickly understand loss potential and anticipate outcomes. In addition, you can quantify risk accumulations of exposure for single or multiple wildfire outbreaks, then layer in claims information, for a better understanding of what’s at stake.

During a wildfire, mobilizing your claims team quickly is critical to your customer retention rate. SpatialKey enables you to easily view each insured and their associated data in the context of the event, so you can communicate with your customers as quickly as possible.

As firefighters work to contain wildfires, you can also see the potential spread of  a blaze within SpatialKey. Notifying policyholders about impending fires near vacation homes or taking steps to mitigate potential claims on high-value properties has never been simpler because you can easily export and share impacted exposures.

Screen_Shot_2016-07-13_at_2.02.16_PM.pngIdentify exposures within a user-specified buffer of an active wildfire.

SpatialKey can also help you understand how wildfire—whether active or past—can affect your portfolio. Use SpatialKey Wildfire to:

  • Identify the number and value of insured risks that fall within a wildfire extent
  • Prepare for additional claims from risks outside an active wildfire perimeter
  • Measure portfolio performance against historical events and past claims

With wildfires on the rise, insurance technologies like SpatialKey can give you the competitive edge you to need to retain customers.

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 Wildfire | Leave a reply

Colorado Wildfires: Black Forest Fire, Royal Gorge Fire, Big Meadows Fire

Posted on June 13, 2013 by Rebecca Morris

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Significant wildfires are impacting Colorado residents this week. Since its start on Tuesday, June 11th, the Black Forest Fire near Colorado Springs has completely destroyed 360 homes, which is the most in Colorado history.

The three active fires include:

  • Black Forest - 15,000 acres
  • Royal Gorge - 3,100 acres
  • Big Meadows - 600 acres

You can understand and monitor the impact of all three fires within SpatialKey. The SpatialKey Wildfire application delivers the most recent wildfire perimeter data published by Geospatial Multi-Agency Coordination Group (GeoMAC) for you to quickly analyze the extent of potential exposure, manage stakeholder expectations, and begin to deploy claims personnel to assist your insureds.

Simply select the fire(s) of interest from a list of active and historical wildfires to create a map showing your exposure relative to the affected area.

You can visualize properties that have already been impacted and quantify your aggregate exposure on a TIV or Exposed Limit basis. Additionally, you can apply buffers to the GeoMAC perimeters to project the wildfire's impact based on your view of potential spread.

In our sample portfolio, there are properties within 5 miles of the current Black Forest Fire and Royal Gorge Fire perimeters that may be directly or indirectly impacted by the fires.

Evacuation Areas for Black Forest Fire

In addition to the GeoMAC perimeter data, the City of Colorado Springs has provided evacuation areas for the Black Forest Fire. This data is immediately available to you in the SpatialKey Data Mart, under the "Wildfire" folder. The file name is "City of Colorado Springs and El Paso County Evacuation Areas 6/13/13".

We hope this solution and data will assist you in responding to these wildfires and bringing relief to those who have been impacted. Check for new data updates directly within the SpatialKey Wildfire app.

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

Introduction to our Wildfire App

Posted on June 4, 2012 by Tom Link

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We recently announced the commercial availability of our Natural Perils Suite. Each of the apps in the suite are designed to more easily put hazard data into perspective for users throughout an insurance company from risk, portfolio, and claims managers right up to the C-suite.

Our Wildfire app makes it easier than ever to incorporate active and historic fire perimeter data provided by GeoMAC* with an insurance company's portfolio or claims data. For example, an insurer can:

  • Quickly reference a current wildfire and build an interactive map-based report identifying risks that are in or near the wildfire perimeter.
  • Analyze claims incidents in perspective with historic wildfire perimeters.
  • Better understand historic wildfire activity in proximity to a concentration of risks.
  • Easily and interactively share all of the above with other members of their organization with saved dashboards.

Seeing is believing. Here'a a quick demo of the wildfire app:

The Wildfire App is a great example of SpatialKey's ongoing effort to provide solutions for the insurance industry that put hazard data in context with an insurer's portfolio to make better informed decisions more quickly and collaboratively than previously possible.

* GeoMAC is a collective effort of several agencies including Department of Interior's fire management agencies - the Bureau of Land Management, National Park Service, U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service, and the Bureau of Indian Affairs, and the United States Forest Service of the Department of Agriculture.

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