RSA Insurance Group

6th October 2016
Esri UK

RSA Insurance Group

Gaining deeper insight into global risk

Leading international insurer, RSA, has been using Esri’s ArcGIS technology for over 15 years to help it better understand global perils risk and manage its exposure. Integrated with other core systems, the Esri platform enables RSA’s employees to make better-informed business decisions, as well as respond quickly and effectively to major incidents.

RSA has improved operational efficiencies, speeding up the turnaround time of risk assessments from several days to being available instantly

RSA can set more appropriate and competitive pricing at individual property level

The organisation can deliver better customer service by responding more quickly to events like floods

The Challenge

Complex factors like extreme climatic change create new risks, in new locations, all the time. The challenge for insurance companies is to thoroughly understand the risks of current and emerging perils; how they’ll affect their approach to risk selection; and how best to manage their overall exposure to risks within a given geographic area.

RSA Insurance Group was one of the first insurers to exploit the power of geographic information system (GIS) technology, using it initially to gain a more detailed understanding of flood risk at the point of underwriting new business. Since then, RSA has continually advanced its use of GIS across its business globally.

That’s the great thing about ArcGIS, all the clever analysis happens in the background

Rob Osment – Global GeoRisk Director, RSA

The Solution

At the heart of RSA’s business today is an enterprise GIS platform built using Esri’s ArcGIS Server technology and maintained by Esri UK. “This core system supports our property business, around the world,” says Rob Osment, Global GeoRisk Director at RSA. “It helps us understand what risks exist at a property and whether we have capacity to underwrite new business in this area.”

RSA also makes extensive use of Esri’s latest ArcGIS Desktop tools, through an Enterprise Licence Agreement with Esri UK. A small team of expert GIS users at RSA employ sophisticated spatial analysis techniques to create hazard models and reports that provide insights into changing risk profiles.

In addition, the Esri GIS platform has been integrated with RSA’s core business systems for underwriting and pricing, so up to 3,000 employees regularly use GIS and mapping tools as a part of their daily jobs. “That’s the great thing about ArcGIS,” Osment says. “All the clever analysis happens in the background.”

Using ArcGIS, alongside our internally-developed risk models, helps us achieve a more accurate understanding of peril risk and enables us to offer cover at a price that better reflects the risk

Rob Osment – Global GeoRisk Director, RSA


In more than 15 years of using Esri GIS solutions, RSA has realised significant business advantages including:

Deeper understanding of global risk
Through its use of ArcGIS, RSA has been able to take advantage of the growing availability of open data to derive a greater understanding of peril risk and thereby allow underwriters to make better business decisions. Having a clear understanding of the business that is already covered allows underwriters to determine whether there is capacity to write more business, ensuring that RSA remains within its risk appetite.

More competitive pricing
Historically, everyone living in one postcode area would be charged the same rate for a specific peril. Now, RSA can identify the exact property being insured, and the rate charged for that peril can more accurately reflect the risk that is being covered. For instance, a person living on top of a hill would now pay a lower rate for flood cover than someone living close to the river. “Using ArcGIS, alongside our internally-developed risk models, helps us achieve a more accurate understanding of peril and enables us to offer cover at a price that better reflects the risk,” says Osment.

Fast, effective customer service
If an explosion, flood or wildfire occurs, RSA can immediately see which of its customers are affected. It can then put in place rapid, proactive measures to help these customers, before they have even logged a claim. “A customer who has bought a policy with RSA has bought into a promise that we will help them when things go wrong,” says Osment. “GIS puts us on the front foot and enables us to respond faster to resolve our customers’ problems as soon as we can.”

Better informed business strategy
Following events such as a major flood, RSA’s GeoRisk team uses ArcGIS to prepare presentations for senior managers, analysing what occurred and the implications for the business. These reports provide clarity in complex situations and are used to help inform changes in business strategy. For instance, ArcGIS helps managers to understand if RSA is underwriting the right levels of risk in the right locations.

Efficiencies for a global workforce
The integration of ArcGIS with other systems saves time for many employees, as they no longer have to access risk maps separately when fulfilling their job roles. At the same time, ArcGIS presents the same information to all of the organisation’s employees, regardless of whether they are sitting in the UK, Ireland, Canada or Scandinavia. As Katie Ward, Global GeoRisk Consultant at RSA, says, “Everyone gets the same instant view of global risk, irrespective of where they are.”

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