Cape Analytics Adds Yard Debris Detection From Geospatial Imagery

Significant yard debris, found in 14 percent of U.S. residential parcels, is a liability risk and correlates to higher insurance losses.

(Image source: Cape Analytics.)

Cape Analytics, a provider of geospatial property intelligence, has launched yard debris coverage, which the vendor describes as the first and only automated detection of unusual and potentially dangerous debris on a property, such as junk cars, broken appliances, scrap heaps, or construction materials. The new tool combines with Cape’s loss-predictive roof condition rating to provide a more comprehensive instant assessment of exterior property condition.

Cape Analytics’ solution addresses the difficulty of assessing property condition early in the underwriting process, which often leaves carriers quoting and binding policies only to learn later about condition issues during an on-site physical inspection or even following a claim. Walk-around inspections may reveal accumulated debris on the premises, presenting fire hazards, liability hazards, and attractive nuisances. Underwriters are then faced with difficult choices involving potential policy adjustments, mitigation, or simply holding the additional risk until renewal. Some actions may erode customer experience while inaction can be expensive.

John Clark, VP, Product, Cape Analytics.

Cape Analytics’ value proposition is to enable carriers to identify key property condition issues instantly and at scale for homes across the continental U.S. prior to binding a policy. Carriers can identify external condition issues, flagging specific policies for underwriter review or proactively requesting mitigation by the insured, the vendor says. Further, carriers can optimize inspection programs by scheduling a more thorough walk-around or interior inspection in place of a cursory “drive-by” inspection for homes with significant debris, the vendor notes. Carriers may also review policies in force prior to renewal to identify condition issues that may have arisen throughout the course of the year.

Yard Debris as Predictive of Loss

Preliminary analysis involving tens of thousands of homeowner claims shows yard debris coverage to be highly predictive of loss, according to a Cape Analytics statement. Relative to homes with no yard debris, loss ratios are 26 percent higher for homes with 100-500 ft² of debris (11 percent of homes countrywide), and 37 percent higher for homes with >500 ft² of debris (2.8 percent of homes). Across the continental United States, California, Nevada, and New Mexico have the highest rate of homes with significant yard debris.

“Prior to bind, underwriting decisions are made with the best information at hand, but issues with property condition are not well represented in traditional data sources and typically not discovered until the property is inspected, if at all,” comments John Clark, VP, Product, Cape Analytics. “Carriers who ‘start with Cape’ can now identify risky accumulations of exterior debris at time of quote and prior to renewal, improving underwriting decisions and creating opportunities to proactively address condition issues before they result in expensive claims.”

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Anthony R. O’Donnell // Anthony O'Donnell is Executive Editor of Insurance Innovation Reporter. For nearly two decades, 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 AnthODonne[email protected] or (503) 936-2803.

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