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Mapping tool helps measure risks.

Benfield Inc.'s ExposureView, a Web-based mapping tool that insurers can use to view their in-force policies in relation to catastrophe events and other geographic risks, got a lot of use in the last couple of months as insurers pinpointed where the California wildfires would impact their policyholders.

About the Project:

Benfield, a reinsurance intermediator, originally developed ExposureView after the 2003 wildfire season. This latest version, which has been out for two months, is in the hands of 50 clients with about 500 users logging in, said Paul Budde, executive vice president of Benfield. The company spent less than $1 million to develop the product, and estimates it will have paid for itself within six months to a year, Budde said.

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Business Purpose:

ExposureView can be used as an underwriting tool, as companies look to see what properties they have accumulated in a given area and what potential exposures are there. Clients also can pinpoint potential terrorism targets and pull up historical information about past catastrophes in any region.

Strategy:

The latest version has been expanded to a total of 67 countries and also combines the best aspects of a desktop version and the Web version, Budde said.

"People have a lot of data; we didn't want any limitations when it came to this product and that much information,' Doug Olson, manager of applications development for the unit that developed ExposureView, said during the webinar on the project.

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Technological Advances:

The program focuses on an interactive map that combines an insurance company's policy data with information about historic and current catastrophes. Clients can outline a specific geographic area on the map and get information about the policies contained within that highlighted area.

Using "shapes" of past catastrophes, clients can also see how different scenarios would affect their book of business. Clients can also use the map to create a "heat map,' which would show their insured properties from lowest to highest value according to a color scale.

Results:

During the recent California wildfires, Benfield was updating the map up to three times a day to give users information on the path of the wildfires. Clients can update the map with their information as often as they like. Benfield expects to license the product to nonclient companies, including Fortune 500 companies.
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Title Annotation:E-Fusion 2007: Technology
Author:Green, Meg
Publication:Best's Review
Date:Dec 1, 2007
Words:384
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