This year’s RAA Catastrophe Risk Management conference brought together experts in the insurance and disaster relief industries to explore the changing landscape of risk management and disaster response. The conference focused on the implementation of tools such as machine learning, artificial intelligence, blockchain, geographical data, and many more that are impacting traditional catastrophe models and insurance risk assessments. With increased disaster frequency and severity, its time for insurers to take a hard look at their traditional tools.
Andrew Siffert, weather catastrophist working in the insurance industry, dove into how disaster response is changing and how social media platforms like Twitter and SnapChat can be used to shorten response time.
— Reinsurance (@TheRAA) February 25, 2019
I know its early, but this Thursday, Feb 28th at 8:15 am at @TheRAA #CatRisk19 I will be giving some of my trade secrets on how I use digital information from Social Media like @Twitter and @Snapchat for Cat Response. I promise you will learn something! #TheMoreYouKnow pic.twitter.com/2p8MdmP2Yj
— Andrew Siffert (@AndrewSiffert) February 26, 2019
FEMA shared important information on flood preparedness and the changing threat environment. With climate change, increased vulnerability and severity, now is the time to build a readiness plan. Take wildfires for instance, “There is a real difference today in how the insurance industry is addressing wildfires versus how it was done 20 years ago. Wildfires have always generated claims, but insurance companies never thought it would be a big enough issue to affect them in any significant way,” said Chris White, COO of Anchor Point Group, a company that develops and supports science-based wildfire solutions, in a recent interview.
“Where it rains it floods. And flood waters don’t stop at lines on the map.” I think I got that quote correct. Good to see so many recommendations & action items from #FEMA #TMAC influencing directions of the National Flood Mapping Program #CatRisk19 pic.twitter.com/VaxglWGRTq
— Richard Butgereit (@rdbutger) February 26, 2019
All natural perils are associated with the same issue. Increased vulnerability. Climate change, greater severity & more stuff in the way. Not a great combo + leading to more losses. Rolling the dice. @gensiniwx beautifully describes at #CatRisk19. pic.twitter.com/XxNDH5ZI0L
— Steve Bowen (@SteveBowenWx) February 26, 2019
— Andrew Siffert (@AndrewSiffert) February 27, 2019
For any disaster, the severity of damages is determined by the magnitude of the event, but also how well-built the impacted structures are. “For several years now, we’ve seen entire blocks of suburban homes being burnt to the ground because of their location, their proximity to each other, and the type of construction used. They were simply not built to withstand these fire conditions,” said White.
This was a heavy topic of conversation touched on by both Insurance Institute for Home and Business Safety and RMS, a disaster modeling company. Builders and insurers need to be aware of the potential risk for the areas they are working in.
Resilient construction has been proven to strengthen communities and can be available at any price point. Hear IBHS’s @RoyWright talk about this and more tomorrow at 9:15 AM during #CatRisk19 – https://t.co/oIq8YnQftv pic.twitter.com/c3HlrIw8tI
— IBHS (@disastersafety) February 27, 2019
The influence of climate change on other insured perils is an active and growing area of research that we at RMS are building on to develop practical tools, actionable findings, and industry-specific reports. RMS’ Pete Daily discussing CAT Models & #ClimateChange at #CatRisk19 pic.twitter.com/XZKOMt3Tje
— RMS (@RMS) February 27, 2019
Throughout the conference, the topic of preventing disasters was at the forefront. While there is no way to completely stop hurricanes, floods, or wildfires, completing accurate risk assessments using data-driven technology can not only help save property, but lives.
“We are still dealing with a couple known qualities like fire severity, flame length, and rate of spread – which can be calculated and predicted – and how it can impact communities. However, there are also less traditional factors affecting the accuracy of risk assessment; something that is generating more loss based on evidence from recent fires from Tennessee to California. Embers are causing the biggest losses,” explained White.
Taking into account embers, or another less traditional factor during risk assessments can make a big difference for insurers and policyholders by presenting them with accurate data to form policies.
— Ian Giammanco (@igiammanco33) February 28, 2019
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