Wildfire Analytics

Using building footprint data for wildfire risk measurement, assessment and analysis

According to a recent AON catastrophe report, insurance claim payouts from wildfires exceeded $10 billion for the second straight year. Wildfires are extremely unpredictable and complex. When it comes to evaluating or modeling wildfire risk, inches and meters count. For example, wind patterns, vegetation, slope, proximity to fire hydrants and building materials are just some of the factors that can play a role between a “full loss” or “no loss”.

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Determine with Rooftop Accuracy

When it comes to accurately quantifying and pricing property risk, it all starts with being able to pinpoint the exact location of a structure. Once you have identified the correct location, you have set a solid foundation for all spatial analysis. Last year, we geocoded 500,000 records for a client. The result? 38% of the records were at least 100 feet from their original location.

By using our building footprints you will:

  • Enhance quoting and improve customer experience by pinpointing a policy’s exact location to reduce post bind adjustments and cancellations.
  • Improve portfolio management and create more accurate wildfire catastrophe modeling results by reducing stacking errors caused by incorrect address or parcel level geocodes.
  • Reduce underinsurance by pinpointing the exact location of a policy and pre-filling year built, square footage, number of stories, etc., to create more accurate replacement cost estimates

Use Cases of Building Footprints in P&C Insurance

Improve quoting accuracy by pinpointing a policy’s exact location and pre-filling key building characteristics.
  • One way for insurers to ensure their online quotes are accurate is to use building footprints for a foundation.
  • Once a location is pinpointed, carriers can pre-fill building characteristic data like year built, square area, number of stories and roof material. Distance to brush, slope, aspect and elevation can also be calculated.
Identify Underinsurance
Reduce underinsurance by pinpointing a policy’s exact location and pre-filling key building characteristics to improve accuracy.
  • Once a policy’s location has been pinpointed, we can also append key building characteristics, such as year built, square footage, number of stories and more.
  • This allows insurers to improve their replacement cost accuracy by automatically pre-filling the correct information into their replacement cost estimators.
Commercial/Excess & Surplus/High Net Worth Underwriting
Understand the impact of wildfire on each structure within a parcel.
  • Building footprints are extremely helpful when assessing policies that have multiple buildings on a parcel.
  • See precise footprints associated with each building.
  • This information allows underwriters to take specific actions, like excluding wildfire coverage for a certain building and asking the policyholder clear brush along a slope to increase defensible space.
Catastrophe Modeling & Portfolio Management
Reduce stacking errors caused by geocoding errors.
  • In our experiences, one of the factors behind losses is the number of policies that were incorrectly geocoded.
  • As geocoding errors stack, the law of large numbers can work against carriers.
  • By pinpointing policies with more precision, insurers can reduce stacking errors, improve modeling accuracy, and improve portfolio management.

Making Location Intelligence More Intelligent

The value of building footprints doesn’t stop with connecting to assessor and other location-based data. There are many ways underwriters can leverage our building footprints to enhance in-house or third party data sources, allowing them to truly locate, analyze and visualize risk exposure.

Taking Your Analysis One Step Further

One of the benefits of building footprints is how users can create a solid foundation for wildfire analysis. Once you have the right location, it’s possible to build off of it.

For example, at BuildingFootprintUSA™, we can append assessor’s data (coverage varies county by county) to our building footprints, allowing insurers to gain vital information about residential and commercial structures, such as year built, square footage, roof cover, exterior wall, outbuildings, and over 300 more attributes.

With a solid base of precisely geocoded policies along with assessors’ information, insurers can then take their wildfire analysis one step further by adding additional layers of information, including:

  • Aerial & Oblique Imagery
  • Building Permit Data
  • Vegetation/Brush Data
  • Slope/Aspect/Elevation
  • Wind Information
  • Lightning Strike Data
  • Wildfire Perimeters
  • Fire Station and Hydrant Data
  • Wildfire and Smoke Claims
  • And more

About Our Data

BuildingFootprintUSA™ understands that every building is important to someone.

That is why we have created one of the most geographically accurate and comprehensive data sets of building footprints for residential and commercial addresses in the United States. Our data is trusted by our customers within the insurance industry, across other industries such as telecommunications and by the world’s leader in GIS, Esri. Click here to learn more about how Esri is integrating BuildingFootprintUSA™ data into ArcGIS online geocoding and Basemaps.


U.S. Building Footprint Coverage

We started to build our proprietary database for the United States in 2015.

We built this database using more than 700 data sources, covering over 80% of the population of the United States. Every quarter we update our database using a variety of sources and techniques, including emerging technologies like artificial intelligence/computer vision.

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