Property data and analytics firm CoreLogic has introduced new wind verification technology designed to improve the accuracy and timing of insurance claims related to severe wind damage.
The new technology combines proprietary three-dimensional storm models, storm-tracking models and artificial intelligence models with radar data, on-the-ground observations and actual damage reports to analyze wind conditions. The scientific and observation-based Wind Speed Maps and Wind Verification Reports from CoreLogic provide updated wind activity analysis at the property level every hour, drawing from data going back as early as 2006. As such, it is the only one of its kind post-event, forensic-quality severe wind speed database currently available, according to the company.
According to the firm, more timely and location-specific assessment for wind activity is a breakthrough for the insurance industry. CoreLogic Wind Speed Maps and Wind Verification Reports provide granular wind speed magnitudes that allow insurance professionals to verify if and when severe winds were detected at or near a specific location in order to make more precise damage assessments and, in some cases, avoid an on-site inspection.
Previously, insurers relied on airport-based and private weather observation station measurements, which CoreLogic says can lead to ambiguity, as these observations represent a single stationary location and are not representative of activity at the property level.
To help adjusters verify what the loss was during a particular policy period and corroborate policyholders’ claims, the Wind Verification Reports provide data on every severe windstorm event dating back to January 2006, including hurricanes, thunderstorms, straight-line winds, Chinooks, Santa Ana winds, coastal lows and “derechos,” which are widespread, long-lived straight-line wind storms.
More timely and accurate wind data, together with the new technology, should also help mitigate against fraudulent claims which have been prevalent with wind-related storms.
“Insurance carriers and adjusters are responsible for making difficult decisions, and it helps to have an objective source to guide the decision-making process, whether it’s for evaluating entire books of business or processing individual wind-related claims,” said Lindene Patton, global head of hazard product development for CoreLogic. “This unique technology provides an element of quality assurance that simply hasn’t been available to the industry before now. Wind verification through scientific observation is going to mean more efficient and effective claims, which will reduce time, mitigate fraud and improve bottom-line results for claims adjusters.”
Wind and hail claims are one of the largest categories of property damage expenses each year. In fact, $30 out of every $100 collected for a homeowner’s insurance premium goes toward wind and hail claim payments, with the majority of claims involving roof damage. From 2007 to 2011, the average claim was $7,177, according to the Insurance Information Institute.
“Wind is one of nature’s most difficult hazards to measure, and for the past century, the industry has depended on unreliable sources,” said Patton. “Wind speeds and direction reported from an airport weather vane can be 20-100 miles away from where a specific wind event occurred and do not represent actual conditions and storm impact at the property level. Wind speeds can vary dramatically over very short distances because of variance in topography and land use, so it’s important to evaluative activity at the granular level.”
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