( Category F5 tornado near Elie, Manitoba on Friday, June 22nd, 2007. Photo credit: Justin Hobson.)
Data services provider CoreLogic (Boulder, Colo.) has introduced new wind verification technology that the vendor says will improve the accuracy and timing of insurance claims related to severe wind damage. The technology yields Wind Speed Maps and Wind Verification reports to accurately verify the occurrence of high-wind events related to insurance claims.
CoreLogic reports that the new technology combines proprietary three-dimensional storm models, storm-tracking models and leading-edge artificial intelligence models with radar data, on-the-ground observations and actual damage reports to analyze wind conditions. The technology produces Wind Speed Maps and Wind Verification Reports that provide updated wind activity analysis at the property level every hour, drawing from data going back as early as 2006. “As such, it is the only one of its kind post-event, forensic-quality severe wind speed database currently available,” according to a CoreLogic source.
The specific benefit of the new technology to insurers is to provide granular wind speed magnitudes that enable carriers to verify if and when severe winds were detected at or near a specific location in order to make more precise damage assessments and, in some cases, avoid an on-site inspection.
CoreLogic touts the technology as a breakthrough for insurers because they previously had to rely on airport-based and private weather observation station measurements; these tend to be specific to the weather station location and cannot yield accurate information at the property level for insured property risks in general. By combining CoreLogic’s wind verification reports with custom workflow integration, insurers can substantially reduce claim decision-making and processing, the vendor asserts.
More timely and accurate wind data will also help mitigate against fraudulent claims, since it reduces the window of inaccuracy and ambiguity that fraudsters have exploited in the past, according to CoreLogic.
“Insurance carriers and adjusters are responsible for making difficult decisions, and it helps to have an objective source to guide the decision-making process, whether it’s for evaluating entire books of business or processing individual wind-related claims,” comments Lindene Patton, global head of hazard product development, CoreLogic. “This unique technology provides an element of quality assurance that simply hasn’t been available to the industry before now. Wind verification through scientific observation is going to mean more efficient and effective claims, which will reduce time, mitigate fraud and improve bottom-line results for claims adjusters.”
Eliminating Dependence on Unreliable Sources
Patton notes that Wind and hail claims are one of the largest categories of property damage expenses each year, citing the fact that, $30 out of every $100 collected for a homeowner’s insurance premium goes toward wind and hail claim payments, with the majority of claims involving roof damage. From 2007 to 2011, the average claim was $7,177, according to the Insurance Information Institute.
“Wind is one of nature’s most difficult hazards to measure, and for the past century, the industry has depended on unreliable sources,” Patton adds. “Wind speeds and direction reported from an airport weather vane can be 20-100 miles away from where a specific wind event occurred and do not represent actual conditions and storm impact at the property level. Wind speeds can vary dramatically over very short distances because of variance in topography and land use, so it’s important to evaluative activity at the granular level.”