Exposure management is hugely important in insurance. Insurance companies must maintain sufficient capital to withstand catastrophic losses. Without carefully balancing their exposures and capital, a single catastrophe can put a company out of business.

Interactive maps have proven a very powerful way for insurance companies to visualize risk related data. These maps, when powered by GIS, can help manage risk and boost profitability. But there remain a number of myths around GIS when used in insurance for exposure management which we will address in this blog.

4 Insurance GIS Myths

GIS has changed. Once hard to use unless you were a GIS expert. Today, with advances in the technology, it is far easier and cheaper to publish maps and use the spatial analytical power of GIS to manage exposure. And yet 4 key myths remain:

1) GIS is inflexible – A decade ago accusing GIS of inflexibility may have had some validity. Not so today. GIS tools and services have proliferated. With all your insurance related data stored in your GIS, maps can be published easily. Analysis done, using both Web and desktop tool, quickly. GIS is today super flexible. There is no limit to the questions a GIS today can answer. And the tools can be configured and customised based on your needs. The days of one trick pony insurance applications are long gone.

2) GIS is not easy to use – We live in a world where ease of software use is critical. As location intelligence and GIS become more popular, simple intuitive applications are today the norm not the exception. Web-based GIS applications are common. At WebMapSolutions we often say the software should never get in the way of solving the business problem. Simplicity is key. If an application requires training it is too complex. GIS applications today are designed to provide answers quickly.

3) GIS software tools are not fast – The world of software has moved to the cloud. That means no longer does your organization need to install and manage your GIS. With powerful cloud based server farms offered by Amazon and others, speed is no longer an issue. Even in times of high load, your cloud based GIS should be fast. And if you are a mobile user, taking advantage of offline GIS will ensure high performance even in areas with poor connectivity.

4) Traditional GIS makes it difficult to communicate risk exposure information to clients – This has never been true. The output from a GIS is a map. For insurance company staff who are used to working with spreadsheets, maps bring a new level of insight and understanding to a problem. Sometimes a GIS is mistaken for being simply mapping software, in reality GIS puts location intelligence into the hands of decision makers. Maps also allow easy communication of risk exposure to clients.

GIS is a powerful tool for use across insurance companies. Not only to assess and communicate exposure, but for claims, underwriting and other mission critical areas of the insurance world.

Learn more about our work helping insurance companies leverage GIS. Contact us on 801-733-0723.


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