December 18, 2019 4 min read

Cape Analytics Now Detects Yard Debris From Geospatial Imagery

Written By CAPE Analytics


Yard debris gives property stakeholders a powerful new tool for instantly assessing property condition and significant yard debris is a liability risk and correlates to higher insurance losses; is found in 14 percent of U.S. residential parcels. 

Today, Cape Analytics, the leader in geospatial property intelligence, is launching yard debris coverage, the first and only automated detection of unusual and potentially dangerous debris on a property, such as junk cars, broken appliances, scrap heaps, or construction materials. Combined with Cape’s loss-predictive roof condition rating, yard debris coverage provides insurance carriers and other property stakeholders with the industry’s most comprehensive, instant assessment of exterior property condition. 

Today, property condition is difficult to assess early in the underwriting process. Home insurance carriers often quote and bind policies only to learn about condition issues upon an on-site physical inspection or, worse, following a claim. Walk-around inspections may reveal accumulated debris on the premises, presenting fire hazards, liability hazards, and attractive nuisances. Underwriters are then faced with difficult choices around policy adjustments, mitigation, or simply holding the additional risk until renewal. Some actions may erode customer experience while inaction can be expensive.

Delivered instantly and at scale for homes throughout the continental United States, Cape Analytics’ yard debris detection can identify key property condition issues upfront. Carriers can now identify external condition issues prior to bind, flagging specific policies for underwriter review or proactively requesting mitigation by the insured. Further, carriers can optimize inspection programs by scheduling a more thorough walk-around or interior inspection in place of a cursory “drive-by” inspection for homes with significant debris. Carriers may also review policies in force prior to renewal to identify condition issues that may have arisen throughout the course of the year. 

Carriers can use this new property intelligence to avoid costly claims. Preliminary analysis involving tens of thousands of homeowner claims shows yard debris coverage to be highly predictive of loss. Relative to homes with no yard debris, loss ratios are 26 percent higher for homes with 100-500 ft² of debris (11 percent of homes countrywide), and 37 percent higher for homes with >500 ft² of debris (2.8 percent of homes). Across the continental United States, California, Nevada, and New Mexico have the highest rate of homes with significant yard debris.  

“Prior to bind, underwriting decisions are made with the best information at hand, but issues with property condition are not well represented in traditional data sources and typically not discovered until the property is inspected, if at all,” said John Clark, VP of Product at Cape Analytics. “Carriers who ‘start with Cape’ can now identify risky accumulations of exterior debris at time of quote and prior to renewal, improving underwriting decisions and creating opportunities to proactively address condition issues before they result in expensive claims.”