2018 Risk All Star: Ryan Bank

This Risk Manager Put Critical CAT Data at the Industry’s Fingertips

2018 Risk All Star winner Ryan Bank leads a coalition that’s helping insurers and government agencies better understand severe weather risks.
By: | September 14, 2018 • 2 min read

Ryan Bank, managing director, Geospatial Intelligence Center, National Insurance Crime Bureau

Technology to control the weather remains deep in the realm of science fiction. But new technology to track the effects of severe weather, in great detail, is very much reality.

The National Insurance Crime Bureau (NICB) has been conducting highly detailed aerial mapping across the country for several years. In 2015, after a cluster of nine tornadoes struck in and around Coal City, Ill., the mapping capabilities were used to detail the storm damage. Since then the effort has been expanded and formalized into the Geospatial Intelligence Center (GIC).

Ryan Bank, managing director of GIC, led the creation of the consortium behind the center, including Vexcel Imaging, a global aerial imaging company, and Esri, a worldwide provider of software for mapping and spatial analytics. GIC came of age in 2017 when it was able to shoot, process and send to constituents 360-degree, three-dimensional, survey-grade maps of the damage wrought by Hurricanes Harvey, Irma and Maria.

“The first full-scale use was for Harvey,” said Bank. “We were able to process and deliver the images 24-hours after wheels down on the collections flights. We were then deployed for Irma and Maria, as well as the wildfires in California.”

GIC has a fleet of 150 contract aircrafts on call, mostly twin-engine turboprops. They are fitted with cameras worth $1.5 million each. “NICB is in every command center in the country,” said Bank. “We fly before the roadblocks are lifted.”

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Beyond the ultra-high-resolution cameras, GIC uses artificial intelligence and machine learning to determine damage. For comparison, maps used by the Federal Emergency Management Agency for disaster planning are accurate to within 10 feet. The GIC maps have a granularity of 7.5 centimeters.

“This changes things,” said Bank. He said commercial underwriters and government agencies now have much better information to work off of in underwriting or providing aid.

For example, two identical adjacent homes may appear on maps as similar risks, but the foundation of one may be five feet higher. That makes it a lower flood risk.

“NICB is in every command center in the country. We fly before the roadblocks are lifted.” — Ryan Bank, managing director, Geospatial Intelligence Center, National Insurance Crime Bureau

“This drastically reduced the time needed to collect, process and produce imagery after a catastrophic event,” said Alexander Martonik, industry specialist for financial services and insurance at Esri. “Led by Ryan, the coalition acquired and published high-resolution imagery for nearly 24,000 square miles across Texas, Florida, Puerto Rico and California, leveraging tools from us and Vexcel.”

Martonik detailed that “the coalition rapidly processed and published 100 terabytes of source data from aerial imagery, providing key context to stakeholders in the days after the [events]. To put this in perspective, using traditional workflows, it could take weeks or even months to process this data and create a set of orthophoto mosaics,” a seamless aerial view over wide geographic areas. &

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Risk All Stars stand out from their peers by overcoming challenges through exceptional problem solving, creativity, clarity of vision and passion.

See the complete list of 2018 Risk All Stars.

Gregory DL Morris is an independent business journalist based in New York with 25 years’ experience in industry, energy, finance and transportation. He can be reached at [email protected]

More from Risk & Insurance

More from Risk & Insurance

2018 Risk All Stars

Stop Mitigating Risk. Start Conquering It Like These 2018 Risk All Stars

The concept of risk mastery and ownership, as displayed by the 2018 Risk All Stars, includes not simply seeking to control outcomes but taking full responsibility for them.
By: | September 14, 2018 • 3 min read

People talk a lot about how risk managers can get a seat at the table. The discussion implies that the risk manager is an outsider, striving to get the ear or the attention of an insider, the CEO or CFO.

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But there are risk managers who go about things in a different way. And the 2018 Risk All Stars are prime examples of that.

These risk managers put in gear their passion, creativity and perseverance to become masters of a situation, pushing aside any notion that they are anything other than key players.

Goodyear’s Craig Melnick had only been with the global tire maker a few months when Hurricane Harvey dumped a record amount of rainfall on Houston.

Brilliant communication between Melnick and his new teammates gave him timely and valuable updates on the condition of manufacturing locations. Melnick remained in Akron, mastering the situation by moving inventory out of the storm’s path and making sure remediation crews were lined up ahead of time to give Goodyear its best leg up once the storm passed and the flood waters receded.

Goodyear’s resiliency in the face of the storm gave it credibility when it went to the insurance markets later that year for renewals. And here is where we hear a key phrase, produced by Kevin Garvey, one of Goodyear’s brokers at Aon.

“The markets always appreciate a risk manager who demonstrates ownership,” Garvey said, in what may be something of an understatement.

These risk managers put in gear their passion, creativity and perseverance to become masters of a situation, pushing aside any notion that they are anything other than key players.

Dianne Howard, a 2018 Risk All Star and the director of benefits and risk management for the Palm Beach County School District, achieved ownership of $50 million in property storm exposures for the district.

With FEMA saying it wouldn’t pay again for district storm losses it had already paid for, Howard went to the London markets and was successful in getting coverage. She also hammered out a deal in London that would partially reimburse the district if it suffered a mass shooting and needed to demolish a building, like what happened at Sandy Hook in Connecticut.

2018 Risk All Star Jim Cunningham was well-versed enough to know what traditional risk management theories would say when hospitality workers were suffering too many kitchen cuts. “Put a cut-prevention plan in place,” is the traditional wisdom.

But Cunningham, the vice president of risk management for the gaming company Pinnacle Entertainment, wasn’t satisfied with what looked to him like a Band-Aid approach.

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Instead, he used predictive analytics, depending on his own team to assemble company-specific data, to determine which safety measures should be used company wide. The result? Claims frequency at the company dropped 60 percent in the first year of his program.

Alumine Bellone, a 2018 Risk All Star and the vice president of risk management for Ardent Health Services, faced an overwhelming task: Create a uniform risk management program when her hospital group grew from 14 hospitals in three states to 31 hospitals in seven.

Bellone owned the situation by visiting each facility right before the acquisition and again right after, to make sure each caregiving population was ready to integrate into a standardized risk management system.

After consolidating insurance policies, Bellone achieved $893,000 in synergies.

In each of these cases, and in more on the following pages, we see examples of risk managers who weren’t just knocking on the door; they were owning the room. &

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Risk All Stars stand out from their peers by overcoming challenges through exceptional problem solving, creativity, clarity of vision and passion.

See the complete list of 2018 Risk All Stars.

Dan Reynolds is editor-in-chief of Risk & Insurance. He can be reached at [email protected]