HSB InSight Tackles Inadequate Business Property Valuations

June 12, 2008

The Hartford Steam Boiler Inspection and Insurance Co. (HSB) is now offering HSB InSight, a new insurance-to-value (ITV) service designed to help insurers address inadequate valuations for business personal property and buildings that cost insurers millions and put policyholders at risk.

HSB InSight allows insurers to determine appropriate value ranges for either an entire book of business or for individual buildings. It identifies where business personal property and real property valuations are below or above an established range of acceptability and permits a company to track their ITV performance over time.

According to Kevin Monahan, senior vice president of HSB, inadequate values are a persistent problem for insurers, particularly for business personal property. “When we analyze business personal property valuations for an insurer, we find substantial evidence of underinsurance for whole books of business,” he said.

Proper insurance-to-value benefits insurers in multiple ways, Monahan said. It helps ensure premium revenues reflect insured exposures, enables insurers to more fully assess their risk accumulations in catastrophe modeling, and aids them in negotiations with reinsurers.

HSB InSight also helps make sure that insurance limits will be sufficient when a major loss occurs. “Hurricane Katrina and other disasters show how costly inadequate insurance limits are to policyholders when they’re underinsured and experience a total loss,” Monahan said. “Yet, because most existing valuation products were designed to support transactional underwriting, they don’t uncover the full scale of a valuation problem that portfolio analysis reveals.”

HSB said its InSight’s valuations are meant to give insurers a credible source to persuade agents or brokers that insurance limits need to be adjusted. HSB’s valuations also reflect the company’s knowledge of equipment and technology, which typically represents a significant percentage of business personal property for most commercial accounts.

Source: Hartford Steam Boiler

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