Gen Re Intermediaries is not in the business of uncovering operational risk for its clients; the Stamford, Conn.-based subsidiary of Gen Re advises property/casualty insurers on their catastrophe risk. But, the company uses mapping technology to visually depict property catastrophe exposure for its clients, and, in the process, it helps them uncover their data entry errors."One source of operational risk is data entry where you've captured incorrect policy information-whether it's coverage data, location data, or limits data," says Anthony Summar, head of catastrophe modeling at Gen Re Intermediaries.

Using a tool developed by Troy, N.Y-based MapInfo Corp., Gen Re Intermediaries imports policy data from its clients, geo-codes it and produces maps that illustrate their geographic exposure.

"The tool enables our clients to look at their risks on a map-to look at each and every dot-and notice, for instance, 'We don't write risk in that territory or region, so why is this dot showing up there? We'd better go and fix that,'" he says.

"We've seen data sets with an 80% probability of error," says Summar. All in all, Summar says his firm sees an average 20% error rate in the client data it receives-although not all those errors are significant or relevant.

Still, "that's a huge source of operational risk,' he notes. "If you're asking us to model your severity potential from natural peril hazards such as earthquakes, tornadoes and hurricanes, and your data is incomplete or inaccurate from a location standpoint, you're not going to have much faith in the results."

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