Harnessing SAR Technology for Efficient Flood Claim Triage, Speedy Settlements, and Reduced Late Reporting for Insurers

5 min read

Harnessing SAR Technology for Efficient Flood Claim Triage, Speedy Settlements, and Reduced Late Reporting for Insurers

In an increasingly data-driven world, insurers are continually looking for new data to streamline their claims processes to reduce the cost of claims whilst simultaneously delivering a superior service to their customers. Radar remote sensing data is a game-changer in catastrophe flood management.

Insurers are now using it to transform claim triage, expedite claims payments - sometimes without necessitating “on the ground” inspections, and reducing the occurrence of late reported claims.  Unlike drones, aircraft, and optical satellites, radar satellites  can operate through clouds, rain, smoke, ash and in the dark, providing 24/7 capability that enables  speed, scale and granularity  of data insight that has no equal, and before most claims are reported. 

Using ICEYE data for claims operations and decisions

Our SAR satellite constellation provides insurers with a comprehensive “big picture” detailed view of a flood within 24 hours of the flood’s peak.  This, in combination with the policy data, means insurers can pinpoint which customers are most likely to be impacted by the flood and how severely, as indicated by the depth of the flood water around the insured buildings.


ICEYE's flood extent and depth visualization after Storm Franklin in the UK

This insight accelerates, foreshortens and improves the accuracy of core flood event response processes and claim decision-making, including:

  1. First Notification of Loss claim triage: Information from customers is cross-referenced with ICEYE flood depth data to drive more accurate claim routing decisions.  This is especially valuable during surge events when temporary staff may lack the experience or time to make correct routing decisions.  The data can be used to guide and stream-line self-service notifications too, cutting out unnecessary questions.

  2. Emergency payments: Claim handlers use ICEYE flood extent and depth data when considering the making of emergency payments.  This will be to determine if an emergency payment is needed or to test the veracity of requests made by customers.

  3. Emergency accommodation:  Using ICEYE flood depth data the likely duration a customers home will be uninhabitable can be determined much earlier than typically is possible today.  This reduces the amount of time spent by customers in more expensive hotel accommodation and increases the speed  of securing reasonably priced and nearby long term accommodation, so as to further reduce the disruption to families.  

  4. Claim payments: By combining customer-provided information with ICEYE depth data, claim payments can be made without the need for an adjuster visiting the impacted property first, or even at all in some circumstances. The value of the payment decisions will depend on several factors, including the perceived veracity and security of the customer's claim submission and surrounding contextual information availability. 

  5. Fraud: “Outlier” claims are identified and fed into fraud scoring rules - this can be because the claim is in an area not included in the ICEYE flood extent data or if the severity seems excessive relative to the ICEYE flood depth data.

  6. Late reported claims: Insurers can use ICEYE data to identify customers who “should” have been flooded for proactive outreach. The goal is to minimise late reporting of claims: 1] in the days immediately after the flood, should the customer be away, so as to ensure as early as possible remediation and 2] in the weeks or months after the flood should the customer not be aware of the water ingress - these claims can be costly, particularly if months pass before the impact of the flooding becomes apparent.

The power of permanent even mangagement platforms

In the quest to provide the best response to their customers while also protecting their commercial interests, some insurers are standing up permanent Event Management platforms. These platforms, powered by radar satellite data, offer a single platform that an insurer uses throughout the lifecycle of a catastrophe event, from the weeks leading up to a specific event, to the aftermath when the flood waters have receded.



Before & after animation of flooding along the Pajaro River in California

The value of these platforms is immense, providing insurers with a topological map that overlays customer locations, event footprints, policy financials, indication of severity, and even reinsurance impacts at both location and portfolio levels. They also offer live media feeds, weather forecasts, and live geo-coded video footage from on-the-ground field resources such as loss adjusters, drying companies, and customer claim footage.

However, for these platforms to be truly effective, they must consider network stress and ensure extremely high levels of security encryption to protect data privacy and ensure data veracity.