Richard Toomey, senior manager, commercial insurance, LexisNexis Risk Solutions, Insurance, U.K. and Ireland takes a look at the recent storms and how data can really help insurers and brokers.
Storm Dudley, Storm Eunice and now Storm Franklin have brought strong winds and devastation to much of the UK and Ireland this week. They arrive just weeks after Storms Malik and Corrie, which came in quick succession and brought damaging north-westerly winds. Northern Scotland and north-east England were worst affected. Prior to this we had Storm Barra which affected Northern Ireland and Storm Arwen in November which brought severe winds across the UK overnight, with the Met Office issuing a red warning for wind. This was one of the most powerful and damaging winter storms of the latest decadei.
As a consequence of this increasing threat, insurance providers are building wind storms data into their pricing at point of quote. For example, The UK Met Office model provides a database of average gust speeds by frequency of storm which insurance providers can use in their rating models.
Accessing this data previously meant calling out for data from different suppliers, slowing the quotation process. However, perils including wind storm data is now available on demand from one source alongside over 40 other data enrichment datasets for streamlined quoting based on the most accurate, near real-time data.
HISTORICAL DATA VALUE
Unlike flood risk where models can predict to the accuracy of a building, windstorm modelling (average gust speed) can be used to predict damage to roofs and trees falling onto properties. Knowing whether a property faces prevailing winds or is on the side of a mountain not in shelter are considerations insurance providers need to make when assessing storm risk.
In addition, unlike 32 years ago when the storms on Burns Day hit, the market now has the ability to map and visualise how a storm could impact a book of business using live data to track the path of the storm. The latest geospatial mapping technology offers a comprehensive view of individual property risk, the risk of a drawn location or across a whole portfolio, allowing insurance providers to upload their policy data to see where there are accumulations of risk and understand their exposures as a storm unfolds. It also allows insurers get ahead of the competition by securing the services of loss adjusters when a major event unfolds.
ABI and AIR research from 2017 suggests losses from windstorms are likely to be concentrated in Northern Ireland, Northern England and the Midlands. Insurance providers will therefore need to have a full appreciation of their risk accumulations in these regions and how their exposures could change over time. Today’s geospatial mapping technology provides that instant view.
As the threat of a storm becomes real, insurance providers can anticipate the path the storm may take and those policyholders who could be most impacted. They can even plan different or worst-case scenarios so that resources are focused on supporting policyholders they have identified as being at risk – both prior to and following the event.
DAMAGE PREVENTION ADVICE
Simple steps such as dismantling or tying down trampolines in the garden, moving cars out of the way of trees, fixing anything lose on the building that could break free in a severe storm can help reduce claims losses. Insurance providers can even alert businesses to road closures caused by the event.
Data on severe weather events is only going to get richer and deeper – in time, the data we have today could be supplemented by satellite and drone data feeds, bringing in further granularity to the understanding of risk.
Insurance providers are much more aware of impact of windstorms than they were in the past. With access to much more live and relevant data than ever before, they can gain a constant and instant view of risk, whatever the weather.
With the climate heating up these storms will get more severe; we all need to be prepared by using the best data and best technology to lessen the impact on loss of life and cost!
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