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Guy Carpenter launches satellite service for evaluating catastrophe losses


Reinsurance broker Guy Carpenter has launched a new satellite-based service, GC CAT-VIEWSM, which aims to provide initial loss estimates of catastrophe events using satellite imagery and other data sources.

The new service has launched to some of Guy Carpenter’s clients with exposure to the recent UK floods and the broker is already providing them with initial insured loss estimates for that event.

GC CAT-VIEWSM is provided through a partnership with specialist geo-information services provider Geospatial Insight Limited. The service takes Earth Observation (EO) Satellite and radar imagery, as well as footage from unmanned aerial vehicles (UAVs), the media and social media, and ground-survey data, to produce initial insured loss estimates.

The launch of services using satellite, sensing and imagery data is expected to accelerate in the insurance and reinsurance industry over the coming years. New technologies are now available which can give the industry a much quicker view of loss events, helping it to prioritise where resources are deployed and bringing it a much quicker view of early loss estimates.

Using the new services has enabled the broker to analyse detailed imagery of the areas affected by the recent UK flooding to map the flood extent. Guy Carpenter then overlays geocoded client risk location data, which enables it to help insurers identify which policies have been affected and provide associated potential loss estimates. The data will in the future also be used to prioritise and deploy loss-adjusting capabilities.

Guy Carpenter intends to make this new service available to it for other catastrophe events around the world. The broker will be able to help its clients by conducting rapid loss assessments for major natural catastrophe events. The broker says that initial loss estimates based on specific client portfolios can be provided within days of GC CAT-VIEWSM being deployed for a particular event.

Commenting on the launch and the initial work carried out with insurers affected by the recent floods, Nick Frankland, CEO of EMEA operations at Guy Carpenter, said; “We are delighted to be able to deploy our new GC CAT-VIEWSM capabilities to assist our clients in quantifying the impact of the worst flooding experienced in the UK since 2007.”

Vic Jenkins, from the newly created International Strategic Advisory team and Head of Analytics for UK, MENA and South Africa at Guy Carpenter, commented; “Previously, establishing a reliable flood extent would have taken a considerable amount of time and required significant expense to compile and verify the necessary data. Using the latest imaging and analysis technology, we can respond quickly to a catastrophe event, providing our clients with robust information to help them plan and respond in a matter of a few days following the deployment of GC CAT-VIEWSM.”

In years to come we could find satellite data services such as this playing key roles in the settlement of reinsurance contracts, with the data analysis providing the input to specific contract triggers. This has already been done in the weather index insurance world, where satellite data has been used to derive payout factors for microinsurance projects in Africa.

Could we see catastrophe bond parametric triggers based on satellite and sensing data in the future? As the technology advances, the resolution increases and the technical ability to link recorded imagery and data with actual insured losses increases, this becomes ever more possible.

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