Mapping Can Value & Settle Claims, Re-Price Risk

Mapping is one of those useful pieces of the claims jigsaw that’s been around since the days of Lloyd’s of London coffee houses. Knowing exactly where an incident happened, or a series of claims, is essential when calculating risk. But it goes way beyond that in the 21st century.

There’s overlaying of asset value data, real-time updates as natural catastrophes unfold and plugging in extra snippets of info from dozens of sources at point of quote, plus during a live claim. IE caught up with Forbes McKenzie CEO and Founder of McKenzie Intelligence Services (MIS) to learn more.

IE; Satellite imagery just keeps evolving and getting better, how useful are all those data points now compared to a decade ago, say?

FM; Satellite mapping is incredible now. You can see through clouds, detect heat clusters, make out super-structures and more. You can even see underwater. So much of the intelligence now is about cross-referencing all those multi-point data references and comparing them to something we had before. You can learn so much from that.

But the thing about data is that there’s tons of it now. The key factor is interpretation, making sense of the mapping often in real-time. What we do at MIS is turn map data into value and at scale because that’s where clients like Google, insurance brands or the BBC can see the benefit.

IE; In the past, insurers had a policy book with all kinds of claims history and data in their archive, but is the technology now in place to analyse all that and see patterns that help prevent incidents?

FM; Traditionally, insurers had data packed into silos. I guess what we do is help complete the value cycle because there are times when you can take action based on a specific data set. Intel is great, but true insights are gained from matching map data to the story on the ground.

So we can look at any event as an API, a data platform that can have hundreds of different sources feeding more Intel into that. You eventually get a circle of intelligence which is actionable because that’s what you want; data that leads to immediate action.

That means you can save policyholder’s assets by warning them, you help organise an event response by offering a detailed understanding of what happened – or is still happening. For example, you can’t send in claims adjustors unless you know a site is safe and heat spots on maps alert your teams regarding the immediate risks.

IE; This has a knock-on effect in terms of resilience and rebuilding too then?

FM; It does. MIS has found that claims triage using mapping can be improved over almost any event modelling software, sometimes by 80-90%. Then you feed that data, all the stuff you learned from dealing with a major event into the modelling for future risk pricing and claims handling. So all the time, you’re using map data to improve your service to the customer, plus manage time and resources more effectively during an event.

MIS works closely with Lloyd’s adjustors, and they are major users of things like infrastructure and accurate materials record data, as well as conventional mapping. Let’s take Ukraine’s invasion this year as an example; you really need to know in detail what is stored at military locations, plus major civilian infrastructure. Could be a chemical or food plant, waste handling location etc., and so the risks of contamination of land or water supply are high during conflict.

During a battle, you can use mapping to see if toxic chemicals are being used by armed forces. Modern sensor systems also help add extra layers of detail to maps so that the future claims and clean-up operations can be handled safely.

IE; Sensors are something that are being used much more in modern co-living buildings, commercial premises and more. Do you see insurers and brokers utilising that data now?

FM; Many are and it’s evolving rapidly. If you look at the Neom smart city project in the Middle East, then you can see where lots of new tech is going to be trialled in terms of matching it anonymously to lifestyles. It has great potential in terms of using sensor data to manage risk for sure.

People have privacy concerns, of course, but general sensor data; humidity, temperature, noise meters, and so on, all helps to build a series of patterns that demonstrate typical usage. What insurers need to look for are disruptions to those sensor patterns, which can be an indicator of risk.

IE; Bit like Leakbot monitors water flow and when there’s an escape it sees the rapid spike in consumption?

FM; The great thing about mapping with sensor data integrated into the platform is that a building can effectively underwrite its own risk, in real-time. That’s the future. You are getting full feedback 24/7 from a building and of course, you can overlay that with policy data on assets located in that building and nearby. It’s true to say that you never know exactly when a storm is coming, but you do know what is in the way and what the asset value is.

I can see a time when buildings update themselves, like a Tesla, with new mapping and third-party sensor data, so you have a constantly monitored risk, which can be re-priced in real-time. The key factor for insurance brands is working at scale in gathering and understanding data.

IE; Satellite imagery has a reputation for being expensive, space-age stuff. Is that changing too?

FM; It is. Not only is the image quality hugely improved over what we had to work with, say 10 years ago – you can now get a satellite view down to 15cm for example – but aerial imagery isn’t expensive as part of the claims process on bigger events. In some respects, you could say it saves lots of money if used correctly. Take the Ever Given grounding for example. You have images and mapping of ships held in the queue at both ends of the Suez Canal; you also have insurance contracts on cargo in each vessel. Now you have the data to make decisions, big decisions, on which ships get to their ports first and unload.

It’s the same with weather-related events; you have the insured item’s value in your systems, so what you need is accurate tracking of the event, by individual square metre. That way you can make hundreds of decisions on claims settlement, salvage and loss adjustment in real-time.

IE; It’s been an education, there’s more to mapping than spotting traffic jams! Forbes, thank you for your time.

About alastair walker 10891 Articles
20 years experience as a journalist and magazine editor. I'm your contact for press releases, events, news and commercial opportunities at Insurance-Edge.Net

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