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Susan Smith
Susan Smith
Susan Smith has worked as an editor and writer in the technology industry for over 16 years. As an editor she has been responsible for the launch of a number of technology trade publications, both in print and online. Currently, Susan is the Editor of GISCafe and AECCafe, as well as those sites’ … More »

CoreLogic adds Weather Fusion forensics to its data and analytics

June 24th, 2014 by Susan Smith

Dr. Howard Botts of CoreLogic spoke with GISCafe Voice this week, to discuss the company’s expansion of its natural hazard risk management capabilities through the addition of Weather Fusion hail, wind and lightning weather forensics to provide near real-time property-specific weather event verification. The combination of proprietary CoreLogic data and analytics with Weather Fusion weather peril verification will enable the insurance and other industries to more reliably identify loss shortly after a weather event occurs through single-source access to multiple weather data sets and solutions.

According to Botts, CoreLogic has made a major effort to acquire a number of synergistic insurance and natural hazard related businesses to augment their traditional offerings of parcel and building characteristic data.

“For natural hazard data we acquired EQECAT, a probabilistic catastrophic modeling company,” said Botts. “We acquired Marshall & Swift, which is a replacement cost application for commercial or residential areas. They determine market by market what the actual amount would be to reconstruct a property in a single event or after a large natural disaster. Our most recent acquisition was Weather Fusion forensic and science reports that has some very granular abilities to pinpoint exactly where hail has fallen or traumatic winds have occurred, or where lightning struck, all of which complement our understanding of what we’re trying to do with hazard risk.”

In particular, the hail segment of Weather Fusion addresses a serious concern in insurance that year in year out, the greatest losses in insurance companies come from wind and hail. That is during non-catastrophic years, earthquake or hurricane landfall years. According to the Insurance Information Institute, insured losses due to hail and thunderstorms alone totaled $25 billion in 2011 and $14 billion in 2012.

“In the period from 2010 -2012, more than 2 million hail claims are filed by insurers, with an average roof replacement cost of $10,000 per building that adds up very quickly,” Botts pointed out. “Weather Fusion can tell you after the storm exactly where hail struck, the size of the hail and the velocity of it, and can do it within a much more accurate footprint on the ground than anyone else can. This is a major way for insurers and others interested in hazards to understand quickly what are their potential losses after a storm. They can use it send claims adjusters out into the field, and then with some other tools we have, we can actually estimate the size of the roof and replacement cost of that roof.”

In addition to maintaining a catalog of events going back over six years, Weather Fusion can give a very accurate view of where these events are happening. If insurers are writing a property for the first time, they can see if there was hail damage at that property, and then check against building permits to see if the new roof was put on. If you rely on off-the-shelf National Severe Storm Center Lab numbers, they are not as accurate as those provided by Weather Fusion.

Convected storm models through EQECAT models tell you what the probability of a hail event is going to be on a particular property but Weather Fusion operates in what is called “weather forensics” that looks at post-event damage.

“The critical piece of that is you need to know the exact footprint and the size of the hail,” said Botts. “If you just looked at the number of hail events, places like Minnesota get numbers of hail events but few of those are damaging hail.”

One of the big challenges is many big roofing contractors will go out after an event and tell people they have hail damage and file a claim. There’s a tremendous amount of fraud that insurance companies have to deal with, so by understanding where the footprint is they can get out and look at what the damage is and understand where this hail hit.

Weather radar can be used for a wind or hail event. Weather radars sweep a 360 degree arc every five minutes. Weather Fusion writes software that’s able to interpret what is happening in that five minute sweep and infer what’s going on on the ground.

Insurance Information Institute data shows from 2007 to 2011, the average claim totaled $7,177, with $30 out of every $100 you pay in homeowners premiums are to pay for polices related to hail and wind.

According to the press release, the addition of Weather Fusion science and weather forensic reports helps CoreLogic solve this challenge by delivering:

         Historical address-level weather event insight for underwriter examination that ultimately results in smarter, more informed policy decisions.

         The ability to accurately distinguish what areas were actually impacted and what size hail fell during a weather event.

         Hail reports shortly after a severe weather event occurs, with maps updated as frequently as every hour.

         Timely notifications of hail activity for custom addresses, as well as the previous day’s hail activity.

         The ability to reduce fraudulent claims attributed to severe weather and accelerate the claims verification process by provisioning information directly after a weather event.

         A Hail Risk Score, which compares address-specific historical hail events against historical claim experience for all relevant hail locations in the U.S., refreshed daily.

         Digital plots of hail paths for impacted geographic areas and color-coded by quarter-inch increments illustrating hail from three-quarters of an inch to four inches in diameter.

         Historical hailstorm data at a custom address-specific location, including hail claim verification with the dates and sizes of hail for each hailstorm, within one, three and ten miles of the address.

         Address-specific lightning strike analysis, along with date and time (to the nearest millisecond), including count of individual lightning strokes, custom maps, latitude/longitude, polarity (negative or positive) and amplitude of a stroke.

         Wind Risk Scores, designed to verify maximum wind gust and direction at an individual address level.

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Categories: analytics, data, geospatial, GIS, mapping

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