One of the most common usages of geospatial data in the insurance industry is a “distance to coast” calculation. The goal is to find out how far a location is from the coastline, then make underwriting and/or pricing decisions based on that data. Why? Because coastlines are right next to seawater. A cubic yard of seawater weighs 1728 pounds and can be mightily destructive.
As odd as this may seem, the problem is…what’s the coastline? For example, if your local marina is across the street from your home – but the “beach” is three miles away – which is the “shore?” Is the shoreline the place where salt water can rush into your home, or the nearest spot with problematic parking on a hot summer day?
This is a problem inherent to many low-lying areas across both coasts in the US but is especially prevalent in the Southeast. Many former low-lying, marshy areas have been transformed into places to live and work. While the homes and businesses have come, the water hasn’t gone away.
At HazardHub, we approach this problem differently. We don’t give you a single “distance to coast” – we give you two. Our “high resolution” shoreline provides the distance to the nearest salt water and/or inlets that are directly impacted by saltwater/oceanic behaviors. For example, here’s an address in Norfolk, VA. (All maps are courtesy of Google Maps)
Low-Resolution Distance to Shore: 5.16 Miles
High-Resolution Distance to Shore: 1,057.82 Feet
Here’s a second address, this time in Jacksonville, FL
Low-Resolution Distance to Shore: 15.64 Miles
High-Resolution Distance to Shore: 1,034.03 Feet
While some systems will tell you this address is a LONG way from a shoreline, it’s a short distance to an inlet that’s impacted by oceanic behavior. This also means the address scores a “D” in the HazardHub Storm Surge model.
The Gulf Coast is especially susceptible to this issue. Here’s an address in Beaumont, Texas –
Low-Resolution Distance to Shore: 23.59 Miles
High-Resolution Distance to Shore: 1,481.9 Feet
This property sits in a zone that is not covered by FEMA digital maps, so it has no FEMA Flood score. It does score an “F” in the HazardHub Flood Model, as well as a “D” in the HazardHub Storm Surge model.
If you want the most accurate distance to shore measurements available, there’s only one place to go – HazardHub. Our job is to provide the most accurate, cutting-edge data available in the market – including basic yet important elements like Distance to Shore.
To see how far YOUR property is from the Shore – as well as all the perils associated with that property – head on over to www.freehomerisk.com.
If you want to run a lot of addresses via our super-fast API, contact us today!