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Property data on demand: Leveraging technology and field expertise

The phone rings, and it’s an agent on the line letting you know an email is heading to your inbox about a commercial property that needs insurance coverage. While this happens routinely in your work as an underwriter, there’s a rush on the job this time. The agent’s customer purchased the office building last week, and they want to add it to their policy as soon as possible.

When you review the message, you have some critical questions. The building had significant renovations over the years, leading to conflicting data in public records. Was it constructed in 1978 or 2002? Was it built with wood, steel, or reinforced concrete? Are there two or four stories? And is it 4,000 or 6,000 square feet? The difference between these details can significantly affect rating, underwriting appetite, and reinsurance eligibility. 

Within three business days, a Verisk field rep produces a  Property Details Report that features comparative building analytics, key attributes, and additional information, including address-level data and details about business operations.

Within three business days, a Verisk field rep produces a Property Details Report that features comparative building analytics, key attributes, and additional information, including address-level data and details about business operations.

Your first step is checking with your data provider to see if there’s a detailed property report on record. As a commercial property underwriter, you likely rely on actionable data to set effective terms for coverage and premium. If there’s no existing report available, sending a field representative to the property to conduct an on-site survey is the logical next step. But that can take up to 30 days to turn around, and you know your agent’s customer needs coverage sooner.

Until now, you may have settled for underwriting with available data from the agent, insured, or public records, all of which could potentially be outdated or incomplete. Or, you might have told your agent, sorry, you’ll have to wait. Either option could result in premium leakage and/or customer dissatisfaction.

Verified data, delivered in days, not weeks

Verisk’s solution to this dilemma combines virtual technologies with ground-truth expertise to introduce a new data-collection service responsive to the growing need for current, reliable data, delivered at point of quote.

When an underwriter orders an on-demand virtual survey, Verisk assigns a field rep with expertise in construction practices in the region where the risk is located. The field rep gathers and analyzes high-resolution imagery and Verisk proprietary data to collect and validate risk information remotely.

Within three business days, the underwriter receives a ProMetrix® Property Details Report that features comparative building analytics, key attributes, and additional information, including address-level data and details about business operations.

Expertise and data combine for effective virtual surveys

While an on-demand virtual survey can dramatically shorten the time to quote, there are key factors that contribute to its success:

  • The right risk type: Pairing this survey with the appropriate property type is critical to success. Churches, apartments and condos, offices, banks, greenhouses, and schools are typically among the building uses ideally suited to virtual surveys. When performed on lower-hazard risks with a limited number of building occupants, Verisk data shows that a virtual survey can be successfully completed 96 percent of the time.
  • Available images: The volume of imagery available about a business can also affect the success of a virtual survey. A high-resolution image, for example, can give a good look at a property, enabling the field rep in the example above to ascertain that a building may be larger and taller than expected.
  • Field-rep directed: Our virtual technology does not replace, but rather complements, the expertise of Verisk’s data-collection team, who bring detailed knowledge of commercial property construction practices and how they differ geographically. In Florida, for example, hurricane-resistant building codes are standard.
  • Data quality checks: Field reps examine images and multiple data sources to see where the information lines up. Looking at both high-resolution images and tax assessor records, for instance, can lead to a higher probability of getting the correct answer. In coordination with risk engineering review, rigorous data quality analysis helps to provide you with confidence in the final report.

How Verisk can help

When the pandemic arrived in spring 2020 and prevented Verisk’s 400-strong survey team from performing on-site interior surveys, virtual technology enabled them to continue to provide insurers with detailed risk information. While virtual surveys were created from necessity, their effectiveness has earned an enduring and increasing presence in the workflow of field representatives. Since 2020, Verisk has completed more than 84,000 virtual surveys, which can help insurers meet customer demand for speed without sacrificing the expertise of trained field representatives.

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Since spring 2020, Verisk field reps have performed an increasing number of virtual surveys.

Contact us to learn more about how an on-demand virtual survey can shorten your turnaround time and enhance customer service.


Talmor Meir

Talmor Meir is director of Commercial Lines Underwriting Property Analytics at Verisk. Reach Tal at Talmor.Meir@verisk.com.


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