Seeing Through Clouds: Why Now Is the Time for Geospatial Technology in Insurance

November 22, 2021 by Susanne Sclafane

The prospect of property/casualty insurers and reinsurers adding information from geospatial imagery to their toolkits for underwriting, product development and claims handling isn’t an entirely new idea. But it’s one that is getting a lot more attention in 2021.Executive SummaryCM Guest Editor and CB Insights Analyst Mike Fitzgerald hosted a Roundtable bringing together participants in the world of geospatial information systems, seeking to understand reasons behind the increased interest in applying imagery data to existing and emerging insurance problems. In Roundtable highlights here, representatives of a commercial insurer, a global reinsurer, a flood mapping specialist and an MGA creating specialty parametric insurance products describe a confluence of technology developments that are making satellite imagery more accessible to insurers of all sizes, and broader environmental concerns that are fueling demand, as well as some remaining obstacles to broad-based acceptance by insurance underwriters.

Executive Summary

CM Guest Editor and CB Insights Analyst Mike Fitzgerald hosted a Roundtable bringing together participants in the world of geospatial information systems, seeking to understand reasons behind the increased interest in applying imagery data to existing and emerging insurance problems. In Roundtable highlights here, representatives of a commercial insurer, a global reinsurer, a flood mapping specialist and an MGA creating specialty parametric insurance products describe a confluence of technology developments that are making satellite imagery more accessible to insurers of all sizes, and broader environmental concerns that are fueling demand, as well as some remaining obstacles to broad-based acceptance by insurance underwriters. Watch the entire Virtual Roundtable—"Seeing Through the Clouds: Satellites in Insurance," on the Carrier Management channel of InsuranceJournal.TV

Watch the entire Virtual Roundtable—”Seeing Through the Clouds: Satellites in Insurance,” on the Carrier Management channel of InsuranceJournal.TV

Industry giants including AXA XL and Swiss Re have been using geospatial information systems (GIS) for property risk modeling and pricing, post-catastrophe loss adjusting, parametric insurance product innovations, and climate sustainability models for a number of years. But now the rest of the industry is starting to get on board, including insurers serving small business customers and homeowners, a panel of participants in the GIS space told Carrier Management recently. (See related article for GIS definition.)

“Why now?” asked Mike Fitzgerald, principal insurance analyst for CB Insights, kicking off a Carrier Management Roundtable event on geospatial information systems titled “Seeing Through the Clouds: Satellites in Insurance,” in mid-October.

(Photo: Top: Pranav Pasricha, Mike Fitzgerald, Giacomo Favaron. Bottom: James Rendell, Bessie Schwarz)