Verisk Climate and The Hartford Steam Boiler Inspection and Insurance Co. (HSB) have announced a technology and consulting service designed to help insurers and businesses predict the likelihood, severity and financial exposure of U.S. electrical blackouts. These blackouts cause more than $100 billion in economic damages each year, according to the companies.

HSB says the Blackout Risk Model can be used to assess the risk of electrical blackouts from hurricanes, winter storms, severe thunderstorms, peak power demands and human error.

The technology incorporates data and analysis from HSB and Atmospheric and Environmental Research (AER), a unit of Verisk Climate, including a database of possible weather conditions, satellite analysis of trees near distribution lines, proprietary knowledge of the electrical grid infrastructure, and detailed economic data, says HSB.

The program's goal will be to help insurers, businesses and government emergency planners identify high-risk areas in an attempt to better manage risk and plan for a more effective response when power is disrupted by natural or man-made events.

Verisk Climate is a recently formed branch of Verisk Analytics designed to focus on the management environmental risks.

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