GIS and Advanced Analytics: The Future of Insurance Risk Management

Trust is a critical component in any relationship. The relationship between an insurer and their customer is no exception. A customer wants peace of mind that you, the insurer, will take care of them during the worst catastrophes. They want a policy that meets their needs and budget, and they want to feel assured that their claim will be processed quickly.

In today’s world of instant information, insurers and agents looking for a competitive advantage must be able to anticipate and proactively service each individual customer’s needs.

When a catastrophe happens, customers want immediate service. If you cannot provide a quick and satisfactory claims handling process, disgruntled customers will quickly find an insurer who can.

GIS (geographic information system) technology provides the tool you need to stay competitive in today’s market. GIS is an analytics tool that helps predict and evaluate potential risk factors, so you can proactively deliver the valuable products and services customers want.


What is GIS Technology for Insurance?

GIS is an analytics mapping tool that uses sensors to provide geophysical, topographical, climatological and hydrological data. It can also interpret geocoded data that, along with other metadata (such as names, addresses, descriptions), can provide a powerful tool for insurers to learn and adapt.

While GIS technology has been around for decades, the advent of IoT means that GIS software can now integrate with rich data to provide location-based insights in real time.  And certain GIS tools can integrate with a company’s critical business systems — making the data not just insightful but actionable.

GIS and Advanced Analytics Capabilities for Insurance – How Insurers Benefit

Today’s GIS technology uses advanced analytics capabilities to process and analyze data from several sources such as real-time sensors on vehicles and vessels; and feeds from social media, weather and environmental applications. GIS also delivers the location intelligence your insurance organization needs to aggregate, identify, and assess geographic data, and determine the impact of potential risks to policyholders living in that geographic zone. With GIS, you can even analyze customer demographics in a specific zone, as well as various demographic patterns and behaviors, thus driving better-informed, more targeted sales and marketing efforts.

Real-Time Event Monitoring

If a catastrophic storm is predicted to hit, you need to pinpoint when, where, and how it’s going to impact customers in that vicinity. Integrating GIS and advanced insurance analytics with a weather system (such as Weather Underground or NOAA Storm Events) enables you to track the storm in real-time and leverage forecasts on the storm’s predicted path. With this insight, you can plan accordingly, thus helping to expedite claims processing for affected residents.

Utilizing real-time GIS updates, businesses can evaluate and leverage streaming data from social media, IoT sensors and devices. With location-based analytics, insurers can filter data so they are alerted to what they care about most.


GIS can also integrate directly into Dynamics 365 and display relevant event, demographic, and customer data together on the map.

Risk Analysis

The advanced analytics generated from GIS data provides your insurance organization with indispensable knowledge of catastrophic event patterns and behaviors. You can look in your claim system to find the associated catastrophes, and then use this information to evaluate the likelihood of a repeat event in the given area (whether it’s winter storms, fires, floods, etc.). With this knowledge, you can offer strategic policy offerings based on risk.

In addition to weather risk tracking and prediction, GIS also provides insight into other factors that influence policies, such as:

  • Power outages: Power outages are a major source of anxiety for people living in areas with frequent outages. GIS allows you to integrate with power companies allowing you to quickly find and service policyholders in the affected power outage areas.
  • Crime: From a home insurance standpoint, integration with a police station’s activity feed can help you plot and compare crime rates in different areas.
  • Property Value: Integration with an online real-estate marketplace, such as Zillow, enables you to pinpoint varying property values across locations.
  • Demographics: An insurer can overlay a census heat map on the GIS, allowing them to see such census data of the population in that area as age, gender, and population density.
customer data overlaid onto population heat map.

Route Planning and Optimization

In addition to visually mapping and tracking risk factors, the ability to plot data on a map can also increase agent productivity and efficiency. For instance, mapping and visualization functionality can help agents plan the most efficient route for customer meetings. If an agent has a meeting with John Doe at X location, using GIS he can see that he has five other customers in the same vicinity as John Doe — and hence can schedule all his Tuesday afternoon meetings with his customers in this location.

Not only can he find the customers that are in the same vicinity, but the agent can also use GIS to find the best/quickest route for meeting all of them at their designated times. GIS can send step-by-step directions to the agent’s mobile phone, ensuring he gets to the right place at the right time.


How Insurers Can Get Started With GIS

Finding a GIS provider with industry experience and GIS implementation expertise is critical. A provider should understand the data mapping functionality you need, why it’s important to your business, and the goals or metrics that functionality needs to accomplish.

Hitachi Solutions is highly experienced in GIS technology, offering our own GIS system: Hitachi Solutions GIS. Hitachi Solutions GIS allows companies to place data on a map, providing a visual reference. This data visualization enables companies to make better decisions, more efficient plans, and improves communication among team members.

For organizations looking for a way to manage their geospatial data and analysis, Hitachi Solutions GIS provides a single, consolidated platform from which to view and manage mapping/plotting capabilities. Unifying different systems within one platform enables organizations to reduce maintenance overheads and provides one consolidated platform for data visualizations.

For questions on GIS capabilities, or for more information on how you can use GIS for your organization, please contact Hitachi Solutions today.

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