(Image credit: Tobias Hämmer.)
Understory, a Madison, Wisc.-based weather network and analytics startup offering parametric insurance for severe weather risks, has launched its supplemental hail insurance product for automotive dealers in five new states: Arizona, New Mexico, Ohio, Pennsylvania and Wyoming. Understory describes Auto – Hail Safe as the first-ever parametric hail insurance product that allows automotive dealers to protect their vehicles from the rising cost of hail storm damage. Supported by the international weather risk insurance company, MSI GuaranteedWeather (Overland Park, Kan., a wholly owned subsidiary of Mitsui Sumitomo Insurance Co., Ltd., Tokyo), Auto – Hail Safe provides customizable, cost-effective pricing, no financial deductibles and quick, predictable payouts when a damaging storm strikes. Originally launched in November 2019, Auto – Hail Safe is now available to dealerships in a total of 17 states including: Colorado, Illinois, Indiana, Iowa, Kansas, Minnesota, Missouri, Nebraska, New Mexico, Oklahoma, South Dakota, Texas, and Wisconsin.
Understory addresses the need caused by weather perils that cause billions of dollars of property damage annually, of which hailstorms are a significant contributor. For example, a single hailstorm can cause millions of dollars in damages to an auto dealer’s inventory. “Climate-vulnerable industries such as retail automotive rely on insurance to recover quickly after severe weather has occurred, yet traditional policies are becoming increasingly unaffordable or unobtainable for thousands of dealerships across the country,” an Understory statement says.
Supplementing the Traditional Risk Management Approach
“We’re excited to expand the reach of Auto – Hail Safe into these five new states and offer a lifeline to auto dealers, whose businesses are increasingly impacted by hailstorm damage,” comments Alex Kubicek, co-founder and CEO, Understory. “Traditional policies are no longer enough. Auto – Hail Safe allows dealers to supplement their risk management approach and bounce back quickly from a hailstorm without the hassle of a lengthy claims processes or unmanageable financial deductibles.”
Auto – Hail Safe is geared to simplify typical insurance complexities for auto dealers. First, a dealer chooses from different tiers of coverage depending on the desired payout and storm severity. Next, Understory will install and maintain a Dot sensor on each policy holder’s dealership to provide precise weather measurements. When hail reaches the conditions agreed upon in the policy, the sensor will activate claims to the insured, without the need for any paperwork or lengthy claims process. Auto – Hail Safe from Understory can be used to cover a wide range of economic damage an auto dealer might experience, including vehicles, roofs, property loss, revenue loss, advertising, and other expenses.
Understory is currently expanding globally, with sensors deployed sensors in Argentina, where farmers have struggled to maintain weather-sensitive, high-value crops because of hail and other harsh storm damage. It has also placed them in France to assist grape-growing farmers. In addition to hail-belt states in the United States, Understory has also deployed sensors in Massachusetts and Texas to measure air quality and help local communities with public safety programs.