Zesty.ai equips insurance incumbent with AI technology to underwrite policies

The news: Amica Insurance has teamed up with US-based insurtech Zesty.ai to leverage the latter’s predictive wildfire risk analytics solution, dubbed Z-FIRE, for its homeowners insurance product, per a press release.

How it works: Z-FIRE uses AI to calculate a wildfire risk score for individual properties.

  • The model has been trained on over 1,400 wildfire events across more than 20 years of historical loss data.
  • It also considers data that further influences risk, such as topography, historical climate data, and information extracted from high-resolution imagery, like building materials and surrounding vegetation.
  • This AI-based model is reportedly more accurate than traditional underwriting models for homes, according to the press release.

Why this matters: Insured losses from natural disasters continue to haunt the insurance industry, and the threat isn’t going away any time soon.

  • Wildfires in the US caused $13 billion in insured losses and $20 billion in economic losses in three of the last four years.
  • More broadly, natural disasters drove $2.2 trillion in economic losses over the past decade, per the press release, while global insured losses from natural catastrophes reached $81 billion in 2020.
  • Hurricane Ida offers an example of how these numbers come about: Ida alone is expected to cause $15 billion in insured losses.

What are insurers doing? The increasing prevalence of natural disasters is forcing insurers to seek out innovative ways to assess the risk of all natural disasters and keep losses at bay.

  • In April, UK insurtech Previsico revealed that it will collaborate with insurance giant Zurich on a pilot across 5,000 locations to boost flood resilience.
  • Lloyd’s announced a two-year partnership with geospatial insurtech McKenzie Intelligence Services (MIS) to assess damages when a natural disaster may limit physical access to the risk location.

Through such efforts, insurers are trying to close the underwriting gap, better predict disasters, and prevent costly damage.

Go deeper: Read more about the transformative power of AI within insurance in our AI in Insurance report, detailing use cases across the front, middle, and back office.