Verisk Insurance Solutions Debuts Roof Age Estimate Tool

The new too, build in partnership with historical building permit data provider BuildFax, l is designed to help U.S. Residential property insurers more accurately determine the age of a roof.

(The Ford Mansion, General George Washington’s Revolutionary War headquarters in Morristown, N.J.)

Verisk Insurance Solutions (Jersey City, N.J.) has introduced Roof Age solution, which is designed to help U.S. residential property insurers more accurately determine the age of a roof. The new solution was created in collaboration with BuildFax, a provider of historical building permit data.

Holly Tachovsky, CEO, BuildFax.

Holly Tachovsky, CEO, BuildFax.

“The next generation of insurance carriers demands timely and actionable property-level insights-especially when it comes to key risk factors like a structure’s roof,” comments Holly Tachovsky, CEO, BuildFax. “Leveraging unique BuildFax and Verisk assets, we’ve created just such a solution.”

Verisk notes that while the integrity of a roof is an important risk factor, validating roof age is difficult and expensive for insurers. Roof age estimates are often based on year of construction, an inspector’s visual estimate, or generally less accurate information provided by a homeowner. The vendor explains that accounting more accurately for roof age in coverage and premium determinations balances risk management decisions and fair pricing for policies with older and newer roofs.

“Repairing or replacing roofs is a significant claims expense for the property insurance industry,” explains Steve Lekas, SVP, Verisk Insurance Solutions. “Appropriately underwriting roofs is a challenge for insurers, particularly as it relates to obtaining quality data with which to segment risk. Verisk’s Roof Age allows insurers to gain more accurate insights into roof age, an important predictor of the likelihood and extent of future roof loss.”

Database of 10 Million Homes

Steve Lekas, VP, Property Underwriting, Verisk Insurance Solutions.

Steve Lekas, VP, Property Underwriting, Verisk Insurance Solutions.

Over the past five years, wind and hail perils have accounted for almost 40 percent of all losses, averaging approximately $15 billion annually-and growing each year, according to ISO’s Actuarial Service. As a roof ages, it loses its strength, increasing the frequency and severity of losses over time.

The foundation of Verisk’s Roof Age solution is the BuildFax roof permit database covering more than 10 million homes in the United States, the vendor reports. Verisk says that its team of data scientists adds layers of diverse and unique data assets to estimate the roof age if permit data for the property is not available. The model provides an estimated address-level roof age and a confidence score.

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Anthony R. O’Donnell // Anthony O'Donnell is Executive Editor of Insurance Innovation Reporter. For over a decade he has been an observer and commentator on the use of information technology in the insurance industry, following industry trends and writing about the use of IT across all sectors of the insurance industry. He can be reached at AnthODonnell@IIReporter.com or (503) 936-2803.

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