The new service, which is the first of its kind, was developed in collaboration with USPlate Glass, the largest monoline glass insurer in the United States. AIR's glass modeling capabilities cover commercial, condo/apartment, churches, and residential structures. A range of glass types is also covered, including annealed, tempered, impact resistant, and stained glass.
"Most property policies exclude or severely limit coverage for glass breakage, yet glass is one of the most vulnerable components of a building during a hurricane," said Joel Cohen, president of USPlate Glass. "AIR's analysis of our portfolio greatly enhanced our risk management processes. Previously there was considerable uncertainty regarding our actual exposure to hurricane risk. Now, using results from the AIR analysis, we'll be able to secure reinsurance at more competitive rates and have more confidence in our own pricing strategies."
AIR's modeling methodology uses a load-resistance approach for estimating the vulnerability of glass. The effects of wind pressure and windborne debris, as well as the resistance of various types of glass, are modeled using probability distributions, the parameters of which are estimated from established building standards, such as those of the American Society of Testing and Materials and the American Society of Structural Engineers. AIR also utilized results from wind tunnel studies and recent wind engineering research.
To generate loss estimates AIR combines information on the windstorm hazard with information on the property, including building height, occupancy, glass type, size, and thickness. Mitigating factors, such as shutters of various configurations, are also taken into account.
"Glass can play a very important role in maintaining the structural integrity of buildings exposed to hurricane force winds, and it can be very expensive to replace," said Dr. Atul Khanduri, AIR's manager of wind risk modeling. "AIR's modeling methodology, which was validated using detailed claims data from USPlate Glass, captures the response of glass to pressure, suction, and debris loads. For the first time, companies can analyze in much greater detail the effect of glass losses on a portfolio."