Stronger hurricanes and tornado-producing storms continue to make landfall in the southern United States, with September’s Hurricane Florence causing more than $5 billion in property damage in the Carolinas so far. While strong winds can cause obvious leaks and breaks, underlying damage that homeowners don’t initially notice can also crop up — and quickly escalate.
WeatherCheck tracks and alerts property managers of incoming storms and their potential damage, monitoring specific details such as hail size. The platform gathers and analyzes storm data down to the level of specific streets, and shares the damage report with homeowners so they can file an insurance claim in a timely manner.
Using machine learning and artificial intelligence, the platform leverages more than a dozen data sources, several available through the National Weather Service, to geo-locate storms and their projected impact.
Users can also check an address retroactively to see if there was any undetected damage in the past year that may qualify under the home insurance policy, similar to how CARFAX works for automobiles.
After spending a decade as a storm roofing contractor, WeatherCheck’s CEO Demetrius Gray had to spend a lot of time and resources convincing clients to take advantage of their existing insurance coverage following a significant weather event. He joined forces with CTO Jermaine Watkins to quantify the opportunity.
“We didn’t understand why their insurance carrier wasn’t letting them know that they had been significantly impacted by inclement weather,” says Gray. “There wasn’t really an easy way to get to that information. So we automated the entire inspection process to take the subjectivity out of the entire claim.”
The Kentucky-based insurtech startup is uniquely positioned in the middle of the country’s Tornado Alley. The team has added more than 30,000 rooftops nationwide to its database so far and come up with a B2B2C model for the SaaS product, with insurance agents and asset managers as their main customer.
While WeatherCheck doesn’t get involved in the claims process, the automated report offers detailed information to help when submitting the claim, including the storm’s duration and intensity.
“I think the most compelling feature and benefit is that the system can actually differentiate between what events actually matter using machine learning. It differentiates between the severe weather events that come through, because not all of them are created equal,” says Gray.
“By not going through that deeper due diligence they [insurance providers] usually go through, there’s a huge cost reduction to them,” says Gray.
While they’re currently focused solely on hail, Gray shares that they will be expanding into tracking other weather features by the end of 2018 such as wind, snow, ice, tornados, floods, lightning and more. They’re on track to have 20 million structures enrolled nationwide by the beginning of 2019.
The team of 12 is fundraising a $5.5 million Series A to further expand, specifically in engineering, and ramp up client acquisition before the next storm season begins.