A Satellite View of Enhanced Claims Service

James Wilson
Senior Executive, Claims

Following its successful use during recent cat events, the Lloyd’s market’s satellite imagery service has been enhanced with further developments in the pipeline. Using detailed satellite imagery and radar, the service provides managing agents with damage data at an individual property level in the immediate aftermath of a catastrophe. It enables Lloyd’s managing agents to assess damage from major claim events far quicker than would have been previously possible.

The service, supplied by McKenzie Intelligence Service (MIS), has already proved its worth. It was used by Lloyd’s managing agents in 2017 to assess damage from hurricanes Harvey, Irma and Maria, as well as the devastating wildfires in California. It was activated again in 2018 for hurricanes Florence and Michael and a series of US wildfires.

Service usage has increased by 75% since the 2017 hurricane season and all Lloyd’s managing agents are now on board. It has proven particularly valuable for wildfires, where underwriters can quickly see if an insured property is a total loss.

The MIS Claims Imagery and Intelligence Service is more than a satellite imagery tool. It also gives underwriters access to other relevant data sources, such as CCTV, drone footage, weather databases and social media.

Armed with this 'on-the-ground' intelligence, underwriters are able to quickly assess damage to insured property, giving more accurate exposure estimates and more efficient allocation of claims handling resources. For example, managing agents are able to be more proactive with insureds, TPAs and coverholders.

The service can help Lloyd’s insurers offer improved service at a stressful time for affected policyholders - regulators and customers increasingly demand fast claims handling for catastrophic events. During recent wildfires and hurricanes, Lloyd’s underwriters were able to make early part or full settlement of claims, as well as quickly authorise additional living expenses.

The MIS service is providing insurers with a real edge over global competitors, with many managing agents grasping the opportunity to use it to make swift decisions and payments. It has enabled claims teams to be on the front foot far quicker this hurricane season, in a tangible demonstration of Lloyd’s and wider-market efforts to truly modernise coming to fruition.

Given its success, the MIS Claims Imagery and Intelligence Service contract was recently renewed with funding from the LMA for a further two years.

It is still early days for MIS, which is constantly looking to improve its offering. Following positive and constructive feedback from managing agents, a number of amendments were made to the service when an upgraded version went live in the summer of 2018.

The enhanced service includes a geocode search function that enables underwriters to quickly find an insured property and a slider tool which allows users to compare the pre-loss and post-loss images of an insured risk, to assess damage. The latest version also splits out the service into a 24-hour, 72-hour and 168-hour service tailored to the needs of exposure management, claims and reinsurance teams.

The LMA and Lloyd’s continue to support the wider development of MIS, which has a number of exciting initiatives in the pipeline. Significantly, the market is working with MIS to develop a pre-loss capability.

This would allow managing agents to upload portfolio data – namely the location of insured property – in advance of a loss event, enabling MIS to prepare a single report of damaged properties in their portfolio within days of a catastrophic event. At present, managing agents need to search and compare insured properties manually and one at a time.

Longer term, MIS wants to tap into the Internet of Things and incorporate data from connected sensors into the service. For example, sensors in unattended buildings in cat exposed locations – such as coastal holiday homes in southern US states – could inform insurers and property owners of potential flood damage. This could trigger mitigation actions as well as help with the problem of loss creep, where insurers are notified of a loss some time after the event.

The satellite service is currently exclusive to Lloyd’s managing agents and their delegated parties, specifically TPAs, which should further speed up claims handling and improve service for policyholders. Broadening the service will also raise revenues to reinvest into developing the service further.