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Brokers, modelers offer high-tech toolbox to tackle property risk assessments

Posted On: Feb. 14, 2016 12:00 AM CST

Technology will continue to be a major force in the property insurance space as several new tools make their way to the market.

At the recent Property/Casualty Insurance Joint Industry Forum in New York, a panel of industry executives said 2015 may be remembered as the first year that technology issues dominated the insurance industry discourse.

“Relative to what I've seen in the past, my view is the pace of change is unprecedented,” said Hemant Shah, co-founder and CEO of Risk Management Solutions Inc., San Francisco.

Technology seems poised to make a big splash in 2016 as well.

One new tool at Aon Risk Solutions is the company's Property Laser program, which Aon introduced at the end of last year with the aim of improving clients' risk profiles and lowering their costs of risk.

“Property Laser looks at all aspects of a property program, from values and brokerage to engineering and claims processes,” said Anne Parkin, a director with Aon Risk Solutions' property risk consulting practice in Detroit.

The analysis, which focuses primarily on property valuations as well as primary and secondary characteristics for natural catastrophe modeling, produces a report showing where property program improvements are needed in an easy-to-read format, she said.

Willis Towers Watson P.L.C. Global Peril Diagnostic, introduced in April 2015, gives clients a global view of exposures across their entire portfolio by peril, said Ben Fidlow, the broker's global head of core analytics in New York.

The five perils Willis' offering evaluates are earthquakes, tropical cyclones, river floods, tsunamis and storm surge.

“The holistic view of exposures is a powerful one” and “very visual,” said Mr. Fidlow.

The diagnostic also produces an overall perils score to allow benchmarking to obtain a better picture of the overall risk. It also “benchmarks multiperil risk against the industry,” said Mr. Fidlow.

At AIR Worldwide, risk managers can use its Touchstone system “to access a global suite of catastrophe risk models,” said Andy Kao, San Francisco-based director of catastrophe risk engineering services at the catastrophe modeler.

Clients also can take advantage of site-specific engineering consulting and outsourced modeling services to help quantify their exposure to future losses and evaluate the cost-effectiveness of insurance limits and deductibles, Mr. Kao said.

Looking forward, AIR is developing a supply chain model to assist companies in better quantifying the catastrophe risk to their full supply chain networks, as well as a cyber risk model, said Mr. Kao.

Risk Management Solutions Inc. later this year plans to roll out RMS One, its suite of open, real-time exposure and risk management applications, said Shaheen Razzaq, RMS' director of product marketing in London.

“The most common request is for more advanced analytics for decision-makers,” said Mr. Razzaq. “They want to have a deeper understanding of the drivers of their risk and they see heavier use of catastrophe models as a way to do this.”

One area of increasing interest in portfolio management is imagery, as greater use of satellites and drones is melded with social media to maximize the input of real-time information, said David Pedersen, senior vice president of business development at CoreLogic Inc. in Indianapolis.

“The imagery is becoming more granular,” said Mr. Pedersen, thereby generating more accurate data.

Solid waste company ADS Waste Holdings Inc. is among businesses that have embraced risk management technology.

“We actually have a very extensive statement of values for our property, having operations in 18 states,” said Marti Dickman, vice president of risk management at ADS Waste in Ponte Vedra, Florida.

“We have quite a bit of property information to gather, including information on real property as well as personal property, but also the yellow iron and other heavy equipment we use, and a lot of processing equipment as well as material recovery facilities,” said Ms. Dickman

ADS moved to Origami Risk L.L.C.'s risk management information system just over a year ago. “And that system is pretty robust,” said Ms. Dickman. “It allows us to administer, collect, track and organize our data to be able to use it to create a statement of values.”

“Because the RMIS system is also used internally for claims, we can very quickly and easily get snapshots of claims that are tied to each location,” said Ms. Dickman.

“Because of the significant growth in our company, we knew that to have integrity in our information, to have efficiencies in our processes and be able to do effective and quality analytics, that we need a tool that allowed us to do this,” she said.