(Image source: GIA Map homepage.)
Hippo Insurance, a Mountain View, Calif.-based InsurTech distributor that applies emerging data sources and processing approaches to homeowners insurance, has announced a partnership with GIA Map (Sacramento, Calif.), a provider of geospatial underwriting solutions for admitted and surplus lines insurance companies. The partnership enables Hippo to integrate its management system, application process, and annual reassessment with GIA Map’s live and historical geospatial data, according to the insurance distributor. The result paints a true picture of near real-time catastrophic risk exposure by location, which typically goes unchecked for years at a time, according to a Hippo statement.
Hippo places the partnership in the context of a significant increase in large catastrophe events. Analysis by the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Association (NOAA) using combined data from government agencies including FEMA, the USDA and private insurance claims, shows a significant increase in the number of billion-dollar disasters. In 2018 there were 14 billion-dollar climate disaster events across the United States, with a total cost of $91 billion. The total cost over the last five years (2014-2018) is approximately $500 billion, according to the data.
Providing Homeowners Certainty
In view of these emerging disasters and losses, homeowners may struggle to find the appropriate level of coverage for their needs. Hippo says that its partnership with GIA Map will bring more accurate coverage options, evaluated at the property-level, for all homeowners. The company says that the partnership will ensure more customer capacity therefore providing homeowners certainty through what it calls a highly customized and painless underwriting experience. This refined underwriting process leads to better risk management for the insurer and more tailored insurance for homeowners, according to Hippo.
In addition to the challenge of finding adequate coverage, Hippo says its partnership with GIA Map addresses all other stages of the insurance cycle through servicing and claims processing. The company says that the real-time hazard and individual policy level data integration created as a result of the partnership will result an unparalleled level of response time if, or even before disaster strikes.
“The insurance industry typically employs an antiquated approach to underwriting by using a virtual chainsaw to determine which homes or consumers are eligible for their products; however they should be using a scalpel for a more detailed and accurate analysis,” comments David Jowell, CEO, GIA Map. “Hippo is a breath of fresh air in the home insurance industry. They push for proactive, consistent communication with customers and our products help enable a much more modern and effective underwriting approach.”
Hippo describes its underwriting procedure as analyzing very large data sets in order to underwrite each customer’s home as if it were a new policy every single year. In that regard the company asserts it is uniquely qualified to leverage GIA Map data. Hippo says its own system does most of the underwriting, as it aggregates data from multiple trusted sources such as Zillow, municipal building records, aerial imagery, smart home and IoT devices, and more. The result, the company says, is a fast and accurate evaluation of a homeowner’s entire property including recent remodels, brush containment, a swimming pool and more, while also taking into account unique considerations such as local market labor and materials costs.
“Traditional insurance companies have coasted on these details for decades, as they layer a basic percentage increase on top of regions that do not take into account how an area or property has changed,” asserts a Hippo statement announcing the partnership with GIA Maps. “This is a leading cause for under-insured homeowners.”
Partners on the Cutting Edge of Underwriting
“At Hippo we are doing everything possible to proactively monitor and support our customers who might be affected by wildfires in California, and other natural disasters around the country,” comments Mike Gulla, Senior Director of Underwriting, Hippo. “We are able to do this because Hippo seeks out partners on the cutting edge of underwriting, like GIA Maps. This partnership enables us to accurately underwrite risk and price better while also allowing us to proactively monitor and support our customers. This is what the future of home insurance looks like.”