Willis gains real-time insight into flooding disaster

When devastating floods swept across Central Europe, the international insurance broker Willis Group Holdings plc (Willis) used Esri’s ArcGIS Collector App to gain detailed, real-time
insight into the impacts of the disaster. The company could then provide well-informed advice to its customers and strengthen its reputation as an expert on flood risk.

Incidents of severe flooding are expected to double in frequency by 2050, so it is becoming increasingly urgent for insurers to advance their understanding of flood-related risk factors. After major rivers burst their banks in Germany, Austria and the Czech Republic in the spring of 2013, Willis used Esri’s ArcGIS Collector app to gather up-to-the-minute information about rising water levels, flood damage and the effectiveness of flood defences; all while on location, in the worst affected areas, at the height of the crisis.

This use of mobile GIS enabled Willis to make accurate, real-time information accessible almost immediately to its analysts in offices around the world. It gave the Catastrophe Risk Team and wider business rapid visibility into what was actually happening on the ground, enabling Willis to monitor risk with exacting precision and help its insurance and reinsurance industry customers assess damage claims more appropriately.

Willis was subsequently able to use the information collected via GIS to develop detailed reports about the natural disaster, as well as validate and improve its renowned flood risk model for Central Europe. The company thereby improved its ability to provide knowledgeable, evidence-based advice to its customers and fortified its reputation in the industry for expertise and innovation.