Bitesize Impact 25: Geospatial Insight
September 6, 2018 Chris Sandilands
Geospatial Insight uses sophisticated analytics including machine learning to analyse remote sensed imagery to create reports and insights for customers for risk analysis, investment evaluation, asset monitoring and major event impact assessment. It does not produce the imagery itself but uses a range of suppliers including satellites and a global network of drone operators.
The business was formed in 2012 and received seed funding of £300k from Birmingham-based venture fund Midven, followed by £2m Series A funding from VenturesOne in 2017. In April it raised £1.7m from Foresight Williams, a collaboration between PE firm Foresight and Williams Advanced Engineering, part of the Group that owns the Formula 1 team. Total investment to date is £4.1m.
Insurance accounts for about 50% of Geospatial Insight’s existing business. The company’s largest insurance client is MMC (Guy Carpenter and Marsh), through whom the company also accesses services to Flood Re.
Geospatial Insight’s analysis has been used by insurers to assess various types of peril connected with catastrophic events including hurricanes Harvey and Maria and the Knysna wildfire (South Africa). Use cases include assessing the scale and severity of damage to aid loss estimation and enable reserving and reporting.
The company is now developing products to support underwriters with risk pricing and risk selection.
Target markets include commercial and personal lines property – providing insurers with building characteristic data and analysis such as roof material and elevation. Several insurance proofs of concept projects are in this area.
The company is also developing a dynamic port monitoring service for various physical assets such as dry bulk and containers with other clients. This is based on a technique already undertaken with hedge fund clients which counts cars in retail carparks to estimate potential footfall and retailer performance.
The company has grown from 8 to 37 FTEs in the last 12 months and the group hopes to hit £6m revenue in 2018. The new investment will go into research and product development as the company looks to invest in automating more of its data analytics processes.
The Oxbow Partners view
It is interesting to see tech companies that offer use cases applicable across industries. It is a reminder that InsurTech is not a bounded community, and that insurers need to be conscious of tech trends outside the industry.
We believe that aerial analytics should now be part of any insurer’s major event response strategy. The benefits include timelier information (benefiting both insurers and policyholders) and cheaper recovery efforts as adjusting resource can be allocated more intelligently. As the idea matures, the space is becoming congested quickly – scale is likely to be important as insurers gravitate to proven propositions.
The underwriting opportunity is also attractive. Despite concerted efforts by insurers, the quality of information received by underwriters about building characteristics is still poor. Companies that can cheaply but accurately enhance this data will be in high demand for some time to come. (Another Impact 25 company in this area is Cape Analytics.) The broader challenge will be implementing this insight into the underwriting workflow / process.