Verisk New Product May Replace Out-of-Date Flood Maps


Verisk New Product May Replace Out-of-Date Flood Maps

By: Adam M. Matheny

What Is WaterLine?

Recently Verisk announced the release of WaterLine™, a new underwriting tool that can be used to see the flood scores for every property in the continental U.S. Scores run from 0-100 on the relative scale and at the same time displays information regarding why the score was assigned.

Waterline is a joint effort between ISO Verisk’s information business information division and AIR Worldwide a risk modeler. The calculations are created using the latest in highly advanced models of surface, river, and storm surge flooding.

What Waterline is Designed to Do

The one thing that the mega carriers can’t be is agile. Their organizations are so large that any shift is marketing approach is like moving a tanker. Just think about it; the marketing team has to shift, employees need to be trained, quoting platforms need to be programmed, and all of this needs to result in profitable premium. With this in mind it is no wonder that large carriers don’t want to nibble around the edges with auxiliary lines of business. However for independent agencies, brokerages, and small captive agents can make a living off of this.

What The Experts Are Saying

Marc Treacy, managing director of flood at ISO, has this to say about the new software, ” For decades, outdated regional flood maps and a lack of detailed risk information have discouraged many property insurers from taking on flood exposure. As numerous storms over the past few years show, the flooding is a hazard that homeowners and businesses can no longer ignore. WaterLine provides the critical information property insurers need to assess flood risk confidently.”

According to Treacy, WaterLine will help private insurers expand into the flood insurance market covering both commercial and residential underwriting. At the same time, it gives insurers who don’t offer flood insurance access to information that could be vital in assessing a property flood risk accurately.

The Timing

This new software has come to market just six months after the nation suffered severe flooding that caused record damage in many parts of the country. Places like Ellicott City, MD where residents suffered their second 1,000-year flood in just two years. And Dane County, WI, where only 2 percent of both residential and commercial properties are covered by flood insurance. It is hard to imagine such a low rate of flood insurance coverage.

The news only gets worse, after Hurricane Florence ran through the Carolinas bringing with it storms surge, high winds, and devastating flooding that reached far inland. The damage and flooding hit historic levels in the area. Despite the fact the Carolinas are prone to hurricanes and flooding, less than 340,000 of the more than 5 million homes in both Carolinas had any form of flood insurance coverage.

How WaterLine Can Impact The Future

This information comes from reports issued by FEMA and the latest data from AIR. With the release of WaterLine™, Verisk offers insurers a new tool to help them identify flood-prone properties, making it easier for them to underwrite each property and provide the owner with the appropriate coverages. Which includes, if they offer it, adequate flood insurance protection.

Not only will this software help private insurers and buyers, but if adopted could assist FEMA and the NFIP program to be more effective by providing highly detailed information on every property in the country.

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