Kansas City-based insurance broker uses software to predict disaster damage

Lockton Companies applied model to Harvey and Irma

KANSAS CITY, Mo. - As Hurricanes Harvey and Irma churned through the Atlantic Ocean, a Kansas City-based insurance broker predicted the damage each storm could cause.

Lockton Companies partnered with a Michigan-based company to tailor that start-up’s “Eigen Prism” program to the insurance world.

“This is really a data visualization tool to help our clients have simple, impactful insights about their properties that could face any kind of perils,” Jeff Tennis, the project manager of the property analytics team at Lockton, said.

Tennis also said Lockton is one of the first companies to apply Eigen Prism to help insured clients. He pointed out how the program is able to compile reports in seconds. During Super Storm Sandy in 2012, it took his team more than a week to do the same thing. 

The idea is to crunch data from different weather or government agencies to create a picture of how tidal surges might impact a client’s property. Tennis said that visualization helps clients prepare for a disaster and make arrangements to get back on their feet once the disaster has passed. 

“It makes a huge difference,” Tennis said. “A picture can convey 1,000 words. And it's instant insight to help our clients prepare for a storm, or immediately respond after something like an earthquake.”

The program can even work to predict tornado or flash flood damage in the Midwest. The more data available for a disaster, the more accurate the predictions become. 

Tennis explained one of the biggest benefits of using the program is the automatic emails and notifications the program sends to account holders. The idea is to provide as much information as possible ahead of time. 

“We were able to superimpose both the wind the tidal surge and the inland flood from Harvey to help prepare our clients to understand what they could be facing ahead of this storm, during the storm and even immediately after,” Tennis said, using Hurricane Harvey as an example. 

Tennis said that as Hurricane Harvey approached Houston, he used Eigen Prism to check on properties in the storm’s path. He said the analysis showed a medical center would not suffer the kind of damage other parts of the city saw. 

“The good news for them was that they were prepared and we were able to identify that and help them communicate that more effectively,” he said. 

Since Lockton is a worldwide company, it can use this technology to do things like predict how a disaster in China might impact logistics or supply for a manufacturing plant in the United States. 

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