31st October 2022
Esri UK


The international insurer RSA has been using Esri’s ArcGIS technology for over 20 years to help it better understand global perils risk and manage its exposure. Integrated with other core systems, ArcGIS enables RSA’s employees to make better-informed business decisions, as well as respond quickly and effectively to major incidents.

Instant access to the risk intelligence needed for understanding perils at specific locations and pricing risks.

Rapid development of apps that highlight major events, historical losses or spatial patterns and help the business plan for the future.

Proactive identification of customers affected by floods and other crises so RSA can help by responding quickly.

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 these risks and make well informed decisions about how best to manage exposure to current and emerging perils within a given geographic area.  When emergencies like floods, wildfires and explosions occur, insurers also need to be able to quickly ascertain which customers have been most affected, so that they can offer rapid support.

RSA 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.  Now a wholly-owned subsidiary of Intact Financial Corporation, RSA has been extending and advancing its use of ArcGIS for more than 20 years.

“ArcGIS is firmly embedded in everything we do. It enables us to work efficiently and gives everyone the same instant view of global risk, irrespective of where they are.”

Katie Ward, Head of GeoRisk, RSA

The Solution

At the heart of RSA’s business today is an enterprise GIS platform, built using Esri’s ArcGIS technology and maintained by Esri UK.  ArcGIS delivers instant access to the risk intelligence that RSA requires to understand which risks exist at a property and whether it has capacity to underwrite new business in this specific area.  “ArcGIS is right at the front end of what we do,” says Katie Ward, Head of GeoRisk at RSA.

The Esri GIS platform has been integrated with RSA’s core business systems for underwriting and pricing, so up to 2,000 employees in RSA’s underwriting and pricing teams regularly use GIS and mapping tools as a part of their daily jobs.  Considered to be a pivotal business tool, ArcGIS delivers geocoding and risk analysis services for everything from validating addresses to scoring perils and delivering customer quotes for new policies.

RSA also makes extensive use of ArcGIS Pro, through an Enterprise Licence Agreement with Esri UK.  The team of expert GIS users at RSA employs sophisticated spatial analysis techniques to create hazard models and reports that provide insights into new and changing risk profiles.  The use of GIS has replaced spreadsheets, enabling employees to examine trends and patterns visually.

Most recently, RSA has begun to make greater use of ArcGIS Online to create quick applications, on demand, that replace static maps and enable people to gain a deeper insight into a wide range of issues by interacting directly with the data.  For example, the GeoRisk team has created an ArcGIS app to show claims hot spots across the UK in relation to the locations of its loss adjusters.  Using this information, the business can make sure its loss adjusting staff are based in the right places to provide the best possible claims support for their customers.

“ArcGIS enables us to react quickly and proactively in emergency situations to help our customers, before they have even logged a claim.”

Katie Ward, Head of GeoRisk, RSA


Deeper understanding of risks
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.

Policies priced fairly based on actual risks
By using the platform, RSA can identify the exact property being insured, and the rate charged for a specific 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 premium for flood cover than someone living closer to the river.  “Our use of ArcGIS and risk modelling helps us to understand peril more accurately, at specific locations, and then offer cover at a fair and competitive price,” Ward explains.

Fast, effective customer service
If a flood, wildfire or other unexpected incident occurs, RSA can use ArcGIS to immediately see which of its customers are affected.  “Following a recent explosion in Birmingham, we were able to quickly identify nearby customers and contact them to make sure they were alright,” Ward recalls.  “ArcGIS enables us to react quickly and proactively in emergency situations to help our customers, before they have even logged a claim.”

Well-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.

Efficient working across multiple countries
The recent migration to ArcGIS Pro, Esri’s latest desktop software, is saving time as the GIS team can now more easily automate processes, streamline data processing tasks and make them more repeatable.  In addition, the integration of ArcGIS with other systems saves time for RSA employees, as they no longer have to access risk maps separately, whether they are working in the UK, Ireland or Canada.  “ArcGIS is firmly embedded in everything we do,” Ward says.  “It enables us to work efficiently and gives everyone the same instant view of global risk, irrespective of where they are.”

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