LINCOLN, R.I. - Amica Insurance is partnering with Understory, Inc., the developer of the next generation of weather sensor hardware and hyper-local data analysis networks, to test an innovative weather detection and analytics platform.
In a recent independent study, hail was cited as causing more than $1.4 billion in property damage and nearly $300 million in crop damage in the U.S. annually. The Understory platform is unique in its ability to detect hail with precision. This will allow Amica greater insight and accuracy in understanding how weather has impacted its customers.
Advanced weather detection and analysis
Traditional, radar-enabled weather centers collect data by analyzing conditions observed in the atmosphere. Understory – named for the area in a rainforest beneath the forest canopy – detects rain, hail, wind and other weather events directly at the earth’s surface, where the risk to life and property is greatest.
The Understory sensor, RTi, consists of a metallic ball about the size of a soccer ball attached to a metal rod that is fixed to a base plate. It’s powered by solar panels and has embedded wireless technology to upload data directly to the Understory cloud.
Amica’s RTi sensor sits atop one of the buildings at its corporate headquarters, and it measures temperature, wind speed and any hail impacts in real time. The company hopes that the data from the sensor will help to more effectively handle future claims.
“This data can be used in our mapping platform to improve our understanding of severe weather events by incorporating ground-level observations,” said Adam Kostecki, claims officer in Amica’s claims executive department and a member of its enterprise innovation team. “With this detailed dataset, we hope to more accurately predict claim volumes, especially after hailstorms.”
Understory has already deployed networks of RTi sensors in Kansas City, Boston and Dallas, with additional deployments planned through 2017. The primary locations are areas with significant exposure to strong wind and damaging hail.
“Severe weather is on the rise,” said Alex Kubicek, CEO and founder of Understory, Inc. “The Understory network pulls precise environmental data into actionable material Amica can use during the claims handling process. We look forward to working with them for the benefit of their policyholders.”
(Photo info: Amica employees Adam Kostecki (from left), Brian Leroux and Larry Brown (far right) with Nicole Homeier, vice president of Understory Weather, and Alex Kubicek, CEO of Understory Weather, with the RTi on the roof at Amica's corporate headquarters.)