Digital Insurance Agenda

ICEYE: Sizing Flood Losses with Accurate Observation Data from Satellites

Written by Roger Peverelli and Reggy de Feniks - Founders The DIA Community on May 27, 2022

Climate is changing and more extreme weather circumstances have led to more floodings, also in countries where they were quite rare. This means that natural catastrophes are an important point of attention to insurers, developing new products and claims processes.

ICEYE is a company that has developed a technology that enables more complete, accurate and timely monitoring and measurement of changes on the Earth’s surface. Using this technology combined with advanced data analytics and other unique capabilities ICEYE provides powerful solutions to the insurance and other industries.

The core of the technology is miniaturized Synthetic Aperture Radar (SAR) that is mounted on small satellites. This radar technology can see through darkness, clouds, dust and smoke – anywhere on the globe.

Owning and operating their own satellite constellation enables ICEYE to direct the satellites to capture data that is required to provide powerful insights and solutions for insurance. Allowing an insurer to create new products, refine underwriting, manage natural catastrophe response and claims, size the impact of events, and monitor assets to enable management of risk.

ICEYE works with leading insurers worldwide, such as:

  • Tokio Marine to accelerate its claims response and payment;
  • Swiss Re to support a number of its products and services;
  • Aon Japan, combining ICEYE’s flood hazard data with Aon’s buildings data;
  • Descartes to boost innovation in the parametric insurance sector;
  • Fermat to support their innovative Insurance Linked Securities

How does it work?

Insurers have made use of optical and SAR satellite imagery for years, but ICEYE’s miniaturization of the SAR and satellite technology is a leap forward.

SAR has advantages over optical imagery: being able to see through clouds, smoke, dust and the dark, and providing precise measurement data. Yet in the past SAR was only available from large and extremely expensive, multi-use satellites. Think of the traditional satellites being the size of a four-bedroom house. In contrast, ICEYE’s satellites have the size and weight of a domestic refrigerator.

ICEYE is able to provide a volume and completeness of data that was not available before. Thanks to it owning and managing its own large SAR enabled constellation of satellites and focusing on the insurance industry needs and requirements. This goes beyond radar imagery. ICEYE combines their data with a wide range of data from other sources, sophisticated analytics and machine learning, and other key components required to provide a complete solution.

ICEYE Flood Briefing on the flooding after Storm Franklin in the UK in February 2022.

ICEYE has an in-house team of meteorologists and continually monitors weather conditions and forecasts around the planet.  The company has created their own flood event prediction system and provide customers with a daily report of potential up-coming events and expectations.

When the system sees a potential flood event developing, it steers the satellite to capture imagery of the areas are likely to be affected, so that there is a time-series of measurement before, during and after the flood.  

ICEYE provides its customer with an early summary of the event as it develops, and in parallel integrates and analyzes other data such as terrain model, river gauge data, drone imagery, social media photographic image – to develop a complete view of the extent and depth of flooding. All this is combined with property data and used for estimating the potential cost of damage and claims, communicating proactively with customers, triaging claims for resource allocation and provisional payment, triggering parametric insurance claims, refining underwriting models and so on.

Why did we invite ICEYE to DIA Amsterdam 2022?

We see a strong momentum with natural catastrophes happening and subsequent claims responses, particularly Flood and Flood parametric.

ICEYE’s SAR satellites are capable of measuring water levels as they change over the course of a flood event, with high precision, over huge geographic areas. Making it more than image capturing, it is providing complete flood prediction, insight and response enablement capabilities that enables insurance companies to act quickly and effectively.

That side of the business will continue to grow over the next few years, with ICEYE providing more operational services related to other natural perils including Wildfire, Wind, Earthquake and Hail. Alongside Catastrophe, there is an expected adoption of Persistent Asset Monitor based products.

In Amsterdam, Mirka Vahtera, Strategic Account Manager at ICEYE and Dewi Spijkerman, Geospatial Consultant at ICEYE, will be on stage and showcasing ICEYE’s Flood Insights product.

Who is ICEYE?

ICEYE delivers persistent monitoring capabilities for any location on earth. Owning the world’s largest synthetic-aperture radar constellation, the company enables objective, data-driven decisions for its customers in sectors such as insurance, natural catastrophe response and recovery, security, maritime monitoring and finance. ICEYE’s data can be collected day or night, and even through cloud cover. 

ICEYE was founded in 2014. Its HQ is in the Greater Helsinki area, but ICEYE is an extremely international business, in terms of the customers it serves, the locations in which it operates and the nationalities of its people. With its most recent funding round in early 2022, ICEYE has raised a total of $304M in financing since 2015 and a headcount of over 400 people.

”By capitalizing on satellite data, analytical capabilities, artificial intelligence and machine learning, we can enhance responsiveness to catastrophic events, support more effective claims management, ensure speedier payment to those affected, and augment disaster detection capabilities.”

Rafal Modrzewski, CEO and Co-founder of ICEYE

Visit their website here for more information!

Barcelona 27 - 29 June 2023


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