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July 22, 2018 | IN Blog

A deeper look at the Klamathon Fire

Natural disasters are by definition a bad thing.  One of the problems of being in the hazard determination business is that for us to prove ourselves correct in our assessment, something really bad has happened.  We take no joy in being right, as it comes due to the tragedy of someone else.

One of our competitors recently claimed they had successfully identified 61% of the properties in the Klamathon Fire as being at high or very high risk. That number is WAY too low.  If you’re relying on that tool, you would be undercounting your potential risk by more than a third.

 

So what’s your data showing? 

In looking at the Klamathon Fire we rated every property inside the burn perimeter as either high or very high.  Here’s the actual data –

HazardHub Wildfire Score % of Locations
D: High 5.2%
D: High  < 1,000 feet from High or Very High Risk Area 11.3%
F: Very High 83.5%
Grand Total 100.0%

 

Had an insurance company or municipality used our scoring, they would have been able to work with their property owners to take the proper mitigation steps like clearing grass lots or moving wood piles away from the side of the house.  Proper mitigation cannot save every property and prevent every tragedy but it can and does save numerous properties in every type of natural disaster.

 

But doesn’t declaring an area high or very high just mean that HazardHub is simply overexaggerating the risk?

We’re glad you asked.

However random they seem, natural hazards tend to have some consistency as the conditions need to be just right for a wildfire to get out of control.  It’s also why you don’t see hurricanes in Chicago and Tsunamis in Atlanta – the conditions need to be right.

We believe that areas that look like wildfire areas should be classified that way.  We look at a combination of factors to decide the overall risk of a property. Sometimes people think we’re just being too cautious…but we leave opinion out of it and strictly look at as much data as we can.

One way we can see the potential risk is by looking at areas that have burned before.

Proximity to Previous Known Wildfires  % of Locations
risk: <= 1 mile from historic wildfire perimeter 52.6%
risk: > 1 mile from historic wildfire perimeter 30.5%
risk: Inside historic wildfire perimeter 16.9%
Grand Total 100.0%

 

What’s telling about this chart is that almost 17% of these properties are in an area that has burned before. What’s more notable is that more than 83% are some distance away. People often get a false sense of security that “it’ll never happen to me.” However, the conditions in this area were (and are) ripe for fire.

 

Have there been other wildfires in that area in the past?

As a matter of fact, there have been several. While many of the properties in this current wildfire area had not been hit by a wildfire, the area is prone to the conditions where wildfire can thrive.

 

Previous wildfires that have occurred in this area include:

2000 Horn Fire

2001 Hornbrook Fire

2001 Hutton Fire

2004 Irongate Fire

2010 Bailey Fire

2013 Cottonwood Fire

 

What about the impact of fire stations?

Another issue with this area is that there are not a lot of fire stations.  We look at the number of fire stations within five (5) drive miles of each property, as it’s a critical factor in suppressing the spread of a fire.  Properties with fewer than five (5) fire stations in a five (5) drive mile radius are twice as likely to be destroyed in a fire – any type of fire.  In the Klamathon Fire, 26% of the properties have no fire stations with five (5) drive miles.

Number of Fire Stations Within 5 Miles  % of Locations
0 26.0%
1 7.6%
2 46.6%
3 19.8%
Grand Total 100.0%

 

When you add up all the data, this is a dangerous area for wildfires.  The fire comes where it can get fuel.  This area had all of the elements needed to feed a growing wildfire. What’s even more important is that the surrounding area still maintains a high degree of wildfire risk, especially given that the area also has an elevated drought score.

The HazardHub Wildfire model – and our supporting data for vegetation burn points, previous wildfires, fire stations, fire hydrants, precipitation levels, and fire determining winds – is your best source for properly assessing wildfire risk. To learn more, contact us at support@hazardhub.com today.

July 10, 2018 | IN Blog

HazardHub Releases Massive Data Update

We’ve been pretty quiet over the last month or so with our communications. It turns out that we’ve been heads-down and building out both improved and new datasets for your data enjoyment!

We’ve got a massive amount of new data under review by our data sciences team. In order to get you the best and freshest data possible, we’re breaking things up to not one but TWO data releases in July. We just went live with the first update today – here’s what it contains.

     * Hydrant locations – We are now just over 8 million hydrant locations across the US, with a focus on the most populated states. Check and see if your address is covered at http://hazardhub.com/fire_hydrant/


     * Fire Station Locations – Our most recent update contains over 100 additions, closes and moves of fire station locations. We track this data every single day and make updates every other month. Check for your nearest Fire Station at http://hazardhub.com/firestation/ 

     * Drought Layer – We’ve added the most recent Drought data to our API. 

     * NEW – Mudslide Risk  – We’ve added a brand new data element called Mudslide Risk. You’ll see these areas downhill of areas that have recently suffered from Wildfires.

We’re working on adding even more granularity to our wildfire model…but more about that in Part 2 of our data release later this month!

All of these data elements are live and immediately available via the HazardHub API. If you’re not on the API, click http://hazardhub.com/api/ to find out how.

As always, thanks for your support. If there’s anything we can do to help make your program better, just let us know. 

June 04, 2018 | IN Blog

HazardHub releases first of its kind Sinkhole Susceptibility database

HazardHub, the nation’s fastest-growing supplier of geospatial risk data, has announced the release of Sinkhole Susceptibility, the nation’s first database that scores every address in the United States by the risk that the ground beneath them contains formations that lead to the ground collapsing upon itself  – aka Sinkholes.

Currently, sinkhole tools are limited to “Distance to Known Sinkholes” calculations, like the one currently available from HazardHub. While effective, they only tell part of the story as new sinkholes will often appear far from where an existing sinkhole is located. For example, a sinkhole at the Villages, FL was more than 1.5 miles away from the nearest known sinkhole. Sinkhole Susceptibility shows that property as a “D” and highly susceptible to sinkholes.  Another example is the National Corvette Museum in Bowling Green, Kentucky, infamously known for a sinkhole that swallowed seven Corvettes on display, which shows a “D” for Sinkhole Susceptibility.

 

The geologic formations that cause sinkholes occur in 40 of the 50 States, with a higher concentration of sinkhole risk in Florida, Tennessee, Kentucky and Missouri. Hazardhub’s Sinkhole Susceptibility is a national database that scores every property in the United States.

 

According to Joe Litchfield, Chief Data Officer at HazardHub, “Sinkhole Susceptibility fills a need in the risk community by providing an unbiased look at the substrates that cause sinkholes to form.  When we tested Sinkhole Susceptibility against a database of known sinkholes in the State of Florida, we found that more than 99% of know sinkholes were in our highest risk zones. At HazardHub, we’ve digested and modeled an incredible amount of data to provide information that can help consumers, businesses, and insurers to make better and more informed decisions.”

 

For one client, Sinkhole Susceptibility identified that more than 10% of their Florida book of business was concentrated in very high zones yet more than 10 miles from known sinkhole locations – a surprising revelation to their underwriters and actuaries.

 

Bob Frady, CEO of HazardHub, says “Our goal at HazardHub is to continually push the boundaries of hazard risk data that is available and easily accessible to consumers, businesses, and insurers. With Sinkhole Susceptibility, we’re providing a new ingredient that will help drive more knowledge about the risks of a specific property. For existing HazardHub clients, this data is absolutely free to access as part of our overall solution. While nobody is excited to find out that their property is in a high-risk zone, we believe that knowledge is the power that can lead to more protection for a property. ”

May 24, 2018 | IN Blog

HazardHub releases major HydrantHubTM update

HazardHub, the nation’s fastest-growing supplier of geospatial risk data, has announced a major update HydrantHubTM, the nation’s first addressable database of fire hydrant locations. This growing database contains more than 5.2 Million hydrant locations across thousands of cities, states, counties and water districts across the United States. The new release contains 62% more hydrants than the prior version of HydrantHub, all of which are available via HazardHub’s Distance to Nearest Fire Hydrant web tool.

 

Distance to a fire hydrant is one of the most critical components to properly price homeowners and property insurance. Yet – too often – hydrant data has been unobtainable or relied on a homeowner’s best guess.  Worse, companies that claim to have hydrant data often charge people to look at it.

 

The updated release of HydrantHub covers more than 70% of the hydrant-served population in the US. States with a high level of focus include Texas, California, New York, Pennsylvania, Illinois, Ohio, North Carolina and South Carolina.

 

According to Joe Litchfield, Chief Data Officer at HazardHub, “we have been working nonstop in collecting as much data as possible to add to HydrantHub. We’ve not only added major cities like Columbus, Ohio, we’ve also added smaller places like Wink, Texas. This latest data update represents a great leap forward in our coverage. The best news is that we’re hard at work collecting the next round of hydrant data. We expect to add many, many more locations by the end of the summer.”

 

For insurers who rate with AAIS’ Fire Protection Class methodology, the combination of HydrantHub and HazardHub’s Fire Station Database allows for automatic determination of the proper FPC code for any location in the US.  HazardHub automatically provides the two components needed for AAIS’ FPC – Distance to Nearest Fire Station and Distance to Nearest Hydrant.

 

Bob Frady, CEO of HazardHub, says “We are incredibly excited to add so many more hydrant locations in the latest update to HydrantHub. It’s been an obsession of ours to build not only the most comprehensive hydrant data available but one that can easily be accessed by anyone wanting to know the location of the nearest hydrant.  Plus, we’re now covering over 70% of the population that is served via a hydrant, making our AAIS partnership and consumer strength even more powerful. ”

 

To see the location of your nearest hydrant – or to learn more about HydrantHub, visit www.hazardhub.com or reach us directly at support@hazardhub.com.

 

May 16, 2018 | IN Blog

Data Provider of the Year!

When we set out to build HazardHub, we had three main goals in mind.

The first goal was to develop the best, most comprehensive property risk data available. Check!

The second was to make our data really easy to work with by making it visible. It’s why we have tools like Distance to CoastDistance to Fire Station and Distance to the Nearest Fire Hydrantall available on our website. Unlike other providers of hazard data, we don’t hide – we put it out there for the world to see. It’s also why we let people try our API for free – we want users to love our data before ever committing to it.

The third – and most important – is that we want HazardHub to be a really easy company to work with. As John Siegman (one of our co-founders) likes to say, “We’re the fun and friendly guys of hazard data.”

Every once in a while it all comes together and someone recognizes what we’re building here at HazardHub. Earlier today, we were named “Best New Provider of Data” by Fenris Digital, a provider of data-driven insight for insurance carriers. We’re super-stoked to be chosen!

As always, we’re here to help. Let us know how we can put the power of HazardHub to work for you!

May 10, 2018 | IN Blog

Why is finding insurance so difficult?

So I’m looking to shop my homeowner, auto and umbrella policies…and the process for doing so is – frankly – frustratingly horrible. Each site has a super-detailed form that wants the same exact data you’ve typed into every other form on other websites. It maddening, mostly because it’s almost completely unnecessary.

This should be a relatively fast process, driven by SSN and address – which is how almost all of this data is stored.

One of the reasons is because the data industry has pounded insurance carriers into cost avoidance by charging a lot of $$ for every single inquiry – if you want to know the risk, you have to pay. At HazardHub, we think this is silly – #carriers can get our data and only pay us when they bind – aka – we’re successful when they’re successful. We believe it’s the way the industry SHOULD run. BTW – I ended up bailing on the online forms…after the 6th page of data entry. If you’re an insurance carrier who wants fast access to hazard and property characteristic data, let me know. We’re happy to help. 

April 18, 2018 | IN Blog

HazardHub hires Geospatial Expert Joe Litchfield as Chief Data Officer

SAN DIEGO, CA – HazardHub, the nation’s fastest-growing supplier of geospatial risk data, has announced that geospatial veteran Josef Litchfield has joined the company as Chief Data Officer.

Brady Foust, Chief Scientist of HazardHub, says “in order to expand HazardHub’s science and point data, we needed someone who is skilled at geospatial data acquisition. We’re bursting at the seams with ideas about improving hazard data. Joe’s experience, expertise, and skill with geospatial data is a welcome addition to the HazardHub team. “

Joe adds “I am incredibly excited to join HazardHub. They are far and away the most innovative and aggressive company in the geospatial hazard data market. I’ve been impressed with what HazardHub has been able to accomplish in the last year and look forward to accelerating HazardHub’s fantastic growth.  My goal is to make HazardHub’s complex geospatial risk data easy to consume, understand and integrate.”

Bob Frady, CEO of HazardHub, says that “HazardHub publishes more than 40 separate databases from over 700 sources that go far beyond traditional cat-model derived risks including elements like hydrant locations, underground storage tanks, toxic release sites, and probabilistic lightning strikes. In order to continue our growth, we needed someone with far-ranging data expertise.

Adding someone of Joe’s caliber is a testament to the great work we’re doing at HazardHub. We’re committed to not only creating fantastic products that power our client’s success but also to create an invigorating place to work. Joe’s vast experience with geospatial data fills a key need for HazardHub. I’m looking forward to working with Joe to create the next generation of geospatial hazard data.”

December 08, 2017 | IN Blog

The Three Little Pigs teach Risk Mitigation

The three most famous houses for risk exposure are the one made of straw, the one made of sticks, and the one made of bricks.  Occupied by our friends, the three little pigs.
These three houses face extreme local straight-line wind exposure courtesy of the Big Bad Wolf.  The key lesson taught by this fable is that the better prepared you are for risk exposure, the more likely it is that you’ll come out on the bright side after the risk has passed.  Unfortunately, we see it every day that some children and many adults did not heed this moral.
Enter HazardHub.
While HazardHub does not provide Wolf Based Wind Scores (WolfHubTM) we DO provide risk scores on just about every other bad thing that can happen to your home or business. We are strong believers in the power of mitigation. After all, many times you can’t just up and move from your location.  But to know what to mitigate for, you have to understand the risk around you.  Like the first two little pigs, most people don’t understand the risks around their property.  Let’s not overly reward the third little pig. While he certainly did mitigate for Wolf Based Wind, building his house near a forest potentially exposed him to wildfire.  Seeing that he was planning on farming there had to be a body of water nearby for irrigation exposing his house to flooding as well.  Lack of knowledge is the leading cause of hazard loss.
That’s why HazardHub provides www.freehomerisk.com.  So anyone in the US can get a better understanding of the hazards that affect their property.  For example, this address in Miami, 701 South Miami Avenue returns a risk identification report like this:


risk-property-scan


All of the hazards lit up in green are hazards that are applicable to that specific address.  Not every address will have every hazard as hazards are regional in nature.  For example, Florida Sinkholes only happen in Florida, while Tsunamis only happen to places with exposure to the Pacific Ocean.  Once you’ve identified the risk types to be aware of you can investigate further by getting the Risk Exposure Report Card with grades specific to the address.
For 701 South Miami Avenue, Miami, the Risk Exposure Report Card looks like this:


risk-property-report-card


As you can see, at this address you (and the three little pigs) have a lot more to be concerned about than just Wolf Based Wind.
Don’t be like the Three Little Pigs. Find out what’s around your house today at www.freehomerisk.com
If you want to know how to apply HazardHub data to a whole lot of properties – either all at once or one at a time – contact us at www.hazardhub.com

November 22, 2017 | IN Blog

How do you get a better handle on Storm Surge?

We’ve been hearing a LOT about Storm Surge and the devastating impact of surge for both Hurricanes Harvey and Irma.

While we won’t know the damages from either hurricane for awhile (although the damages of both storms are estimated in the tens of billions), we can help to answer one question – how can communities, insurers, and individuals be better prepared for the risk from storm surge?

The key step is to be aware. Knowing the risk of storm surge for a specific property – and mitigating those risks while the weather is good – can go a long way to making sure your property minimizes storm surge damages.

Storm surge models have improved drastically over the last several years, as topographical maps and satellite imagery have improved. Our SurgeMax model is one of the newest, most powerful surge score models available and offers very low-level resolution – down to 100 feet.

We looked at data for the last major storm surge impact in Florida – Hurricane Matthew. Here’s what SurgeMax showed for one of our actuaries –

SurgeMax - Matthew

SurgeMax not only accurately classified storm surge claims for Florida, it was the single most powerful variable available to the carrier for predicting the risk from storm surge. While every storm is different, SurgeMax offers unprecedented insight for insurers and municipalities to properly assess their risk.

At HazardHub, we’re constantly working to provide the best, most accurate risk assessment tools available. If you’re an insurer (or a self-insured business) that would like to know your danger from storm surge, please visit us at by clicking here. We’ll code your files with our data and let you prove the value for yourself.

PS – Many thanks to Steve Kolk for his expert analysis!