reThought Flood

Issue 1, April 2024: Spring Floods Issue

In this Issue:
BREAKING NEWS

Nor’easter Slams Northeast

Nor’easter Slams Northeast
The nor’easter on April 4, at 11:21 AM Eastern.

Warm and cold fronts collided last week over the Midwest, causing tragic tornados in several communities, before the system combined with a low pressure area from the southeast to create a classic nor’easter. 

At press time, heavy rains continued in New York, New Jersey, and Connecticut. Further north and east, the impact was less, as is common with nor’easters, but still the coasts of Massachusetts, New Hampshire, and Maine were walloped with heavy rains, sleet, snow and hearty winds. 

reThought Flood expects coastal erosion and wave damage, with winds up to 60 mph. Inland, wet snow will clog drains, hampering runoff, although we do not anticipate extensive flood losses.

What’s a nor’easter?  It’s an extra-tropical storm with a Boston accent. It’s smaller and weaker than a hurricane, and called a nor’easter because the most serious winds and rains come with winds from the northeast.

reThought LEADERSHIP

Will California Flood in 2024?

The Central Sierra Snow Lab

Quick answer – YES! At least somewhere, it will. Storms have already battered the southern coast, so yes, California will flood.  

2023 saw atmospheric river events and record-heavy snowpack. Flooding happened over most of the state. Tulare Lake became a lake again. A levee breach in Pajaro led to the tragic loss of many homes and businesses. Agriculture took the hardest hit throughout the state, while major metropolitan areas were spared.  

The California Department of Water Resources did a great job managing reservoir discharges, and, while local impacts occurred, overall the state was spared the severe flooding that would have occurred if reservoir capacity was exceeded. 

Where are we this year? Several atmospheric rivers have already put record snowfalls into the mountains. Current water levels are higher than last year at four of five major reservoirs, and all are above their historical average…

BIG WINS

Great reThought Flood Solutions #1: Floods during levee construction

The challenge: Provide Flood-Only Builders Risk Insurance for a levee improvement project in Texas involving the redirection of a river, construction of six bendway weirs, and of 3,000 feet of Launching Stone Toe Protection. It’s perhaps the most complex civil engineering project reThought has ever undertaken to underwrite. 

The coverage: Builders Risk, 55% of $15 million xs $10 million per occurrence, annual aggregate.

The story: Coverage was led at Lloyd’s of London, but the broker could not complete the policy there. With reThought Flood’s advanced analytics, we were able to do so with confidence.

FLOODWATERS RISING

March Flood Stage Report

In the 26 days from March 1, 2024, at least 239 stream gages in 29 states were at or above “flood stage” at least once, and 51 were at more than 120% of flood stage. Georgia was the wettest state, with 64 gages reaching flood stage. Texas and Minnesota came second with 19 each, and New Jersey gets final-four honors with 18.

reThought PEOPLE

Melissa Lynch

Melissa & Derek Lynch and family

Melissa Lynch, Senior Underwriter, Specialty

Why should people think about flooding?

Flood is an ever-growing risk. As we embrace new shifts in our environment and climate, we are seeing more people experience loss. This hit particularly close to home when a dam near my home broke, and it put half of our neighborhood under 2 or 3 feet of water. Luckily, we were spared.

BIG WINS

Great reThought Flood Solutions #2: A school in a flood zone

The challenge: Cedar Rapids was flooded multiple times in years past, so insurers really don’t like the area.

The coverage: $5 million, with NFIP $0.5 million deductible per building and per contents claim. 

The story: The broker had great difficulty finding coverage, came to reThought Flood for one part of the cover, which we insured, then came back to us for the rest of the coverage under a second policy. 

TECHNOLOGY CORNER

reThought Flood Models 101, Part 1: FRS

reThought’s technology stack has many interesting elements. At its core, and therefore the best place to begin our technology learning section, is our Flood Resilience Score (FRS). reThought uses a powerful combination of these AI-derived risk metrics and model fusion to derive premium indications.

What is FRS? 

All pricing begins with location information. The more precise it is, the more accurate the price will be. reThought pinpoints a risk’s location, down to the building outline, to ensure we have the best possible data inputs. By helping us confirm the exact location of a risk, broker’s ensure that accurate data is used in our models. This leads to more stable pricing over time. 

Using the location information, reThought determines a risk’s Flood Resilience Score. The scoring captures several factors that indicate the flood resilience of a specific property. Like a credit rating, a high score is better than a low score. 

More accurate pricing

Because the score is so specific, it can show, for example, if a property in a high-risk flood zone is actually at low risk of flood, perhaps because of its elevation, mitigations, or other circumstances. This allows reThought Flood to provide coverage when others are unwilling, because they write based on broad flood zone guidelines. 

ReThought writes only based on the actual, individual risk of the property. This also helps us accurately price very risky properties that reside outside of flood zones, which is another driver of stable pricing over time.  

In future newsletters, we’ll describe how we combine the FRS with model fusion to drive accurate pricing. We will explain how we use individual FRSs within broader statements of value to understand the overall risk of a policy.

BIG WINS

Great reThought Flood Solutions #3: A schedule of Buildings in Texas and Florida

The challenge: The broker sought insurance for 28 retail, office, and apartment buildings in Texas and Florida. Aggregate capacity, especially at the level required, is extremely hard to come by in those states, and some insurers refuse to consider schedules of properties, especially in flood-prone areas.

The coverage: $10 million xs $10 million; $5 million xs $20 million; premium of $167,500 (both layers).

The story: After four years with reThought Flood, this renewal was again offered for $10 million xs $10 million, but the other carriers had reduced or non-renewed their shares of the program, as is currently common. We also revealed undervalued replacement costs. The broker approached reThought Flood for additional capacity. We offered an additional $5 million xs $20 million to complete the package. 

FLOOD REGS ROUND-UP

Vermont prevents, New Jersey and New York disclose

Vermont prevents,  New Jersey and New York disclose 

A summary of flood-related regulation from state capitals and Washington over the past few months.

March 26: In response to insurer withdrawals from California, Louisiana Insurance Commissioner Tim Temple said state regulators must “modernize our regulatory framework and fix our broken legal environment, and we must do both now.”

BIG WINS

Great reThought Flood Solutions #4: Habitational risk between a river and a canal 

The challenge: The broker sought flood cover for nine apartment buildings, a clubhouse, and a storage building located within 800 feet of a river and 400 feet of a canal.

The coverage: $5 million with a $100,000 deductible and a three-day business interruption waiting period for a premium of $28,500.

The story: The insured was reluctant to buy flood, which was excluded from their All Risks cover, due to perceived cost. reThought Flood analysed the individual flood risk of every building on the schedule, then approached the risk with flexibility, allowing us to quote within the client’s remaining insurance budget. We were even able to backdate the flood quote to match their All Risk policy.

SOAP BOX

Driving Success Together: Arch Insurance and reThought

By Arch Insurance

Frances Matos, Arch, Michelle Gatto & Karen Wilson, reThought

Arch Insurance is committed to providing the best specialty insurance products and nurturing strong relationships with our business partners. Arch’s long standing relationship with reThought Flood truly embodies this commitment.

Arch and reThought initiated the business relationship in February 2019, and since that time the relationship has strengthened as we’ve contributed to each other’s growth over the past five years. 

“We first met reThought in 2018, before they’d launched, at a speed-dating event for insurers, insurTechs, and investors at ITC Vegas,” recalls Valerie Turpin, Chief Underwriting Officer, Property, at Arch Insurance. “Dozens of start-ups were there looking for capacity. We were impressed with reThought’s technology and their very new approach to assessing and quantifying flood risk at the level of the insured structure.” Through the MGA relationship, Arch provides capacity and E&S paper and reThought brings their flood risk modelling expertise to underwriting flood insurance. 

“reThought has grown very fast, adding to their modelling expertise a robust administration system and a dedicated brokers’ engagement strategy,” says Frances Matos, Associate Underwriter, Property, at Arch Insurance, who’s worked with reThought since the beginning, and became program manager in 2021. “We’ve extended our support year after year. It started with a focus on smaller commercial risks, then in 2023 we added a second flood program for larger risks which require shared & layered placements.”

Valerie notes that she’s met every new reThought Flood underwriter as the MGA has grown from the team of six she first met back in 2017. “We appreciate the leadership team and their focus on sustainable and long term results. We like the way they do business, the organization, and how they’ve developed,” she says. “reThought provides expertise, knowledge, and their own excellent market contacts.”

Together, Arch and reThought have seen substantial growth in a growing universe of insureds who look for comprehensive solutions in the commercial insurance market. 

“When reThought won the Business Insurance Innovation Award for their Flood Resilience Score, they invited me to the ceremony,” says Frances, “it was great to be at the table.” Arch and reThought connect on a regular basis, and Arch has been eager to connect reThought to our annual reception at the WSIA conference, where they invite their broker partners and fund local charities. 

This collaborative and relationship-driven approach encapsulates how we do business at Arch. Pursuing Better Together is Arch’s customer-focused mindset and our promise to work together with our partners to pursue better ways of doing things and more effective solutions. “It’s an invaluable relationship that helps us deliver great products to brokers and their clients,” shares Valerie. 

JUST ONE THING

Bags of Protection

If you do just one thing to protect your building from flood damage, it could be this.

Self-inflating sandbags
FLOOD ALBUM

Leominster, MA, September 2023

Leominster, MA, September 2023

This picture, snapped by our own Ed Haas, shows the damage which flash flooding can cause even when the water fails to make ingress into the property affected. 

ATTENTION PHOTOGRAPHERS!

We want your flood photos! 

If you see floods or flood damage, snap a picture and send it to photos@rethoughtflood.com

We will publish the best of them here, and if your pic is picked, you WIN a reThought Flood umbrella!

NEWS FROM reThought FLOOD

Meet Our Three New reThought Flood Experts

Garrett Clark – We are delighted to welcome Garrett Clark, an enthusiastic and highly disciplined insurance professional, to our growing team. With over 5 years of experience successfully underwriting complex flood, earthquake, and specialty lines policies, Garrett brings tremendous risk assessment expertise. Known for his in-depth expertise in geology will provide invaluable insight to our underwriting approach. His exceptional customer service will undoubtedly be an asset. As someone extremely motivated and committed to continuous learning, Garrett is well-positioned to make immediate contributions as we grow. We excitedly anticipate the new ideas and dedicated work ethic Garrett offers.

Joshua Mosley – We are thrilled to welcome Joshua Mosley, an accomplished and passionate leader in the insurance industry, to our team. With over 15 years of experience, Joshua has consistently driven operational excellence and exceeded service expectations across various roles from underwriting support supervisor to brokerage operations manager. His expertise in insurance risk management along with his sharp focus on mentoring experience position him well to make immediate contributions. Known for his personable nature and ability to collaborate cross-functionally, Joshua will undoubtedly be an asset as we continue pursuing growth and innovation. We enthusiastically look forward to the fresh perspective Joshua will provide.

Paul Sain – We are excited to welcome Paul Sain, an ambitious insurance professional with nearly 20 years of diverse expertise, to our growing team. From underwriting and claims to sales and risk management across personal and commercial lines, Paul brings a wealth of hands-on experience and analytical skills to drive results. Known for readily adapting to new processes while solving complex issues, Paul’s dedication to providing excellent service and communication will undoubtedly be an asset. With his impressive track record of leadership and mentoring others to success, we are confident Paul will make immediate contributions as we continue to innovate. We look forward to the energetic attitude Paul offers.