About Property & Liability Resource Bureau Catastrophe Services

Catastrophe Services

The need for current and accurate weather and catastrophe information is crucial to the efficient operation of a property claims department. The Property & Liability Resource Bureau provides a continual flow of data to its insurer members and Affiliate Members via the Catastrophe Services Department. It can be obtained in a variety of formats, including: a readable document, a spreadsheet, geocoded data, readable maps, and viewable charts. All information provided is carefully edited by the Catastrophe Services Department, so the data meets the specific needs of PLRB member insurers.


The center of PLRB's Catastrophe Services information system is the on-line database accessible through PLRB's Weather/Cats home page. This system is updated seven days a week. It provides the members with current information on tornado, hail, wind, lightning probability, flood, earthquake, tropical storms and hurricanes, major fires, explosions, hazardous materials events, riots, blackouts, and other occurrences that are likely to cause multiple claims.

The Property & Liability Resource Bureau daily on-line Severe Storm and Occurrence Summary, as well as all other weather and catastrophe information we provide, is available from convenient drop-down menus from the top of the PLRB Weather/Cats home page. The Severe Storm and Occurrence Summary is updated each morning and throughout the business day, as developments warrant. Users can click on the hyperlink that lists the day's or the weekend's occurrences for a complete report. The report also includes links to lightning probability charts, the Surface Analysis and Occurrence Number Chart, the Precipitation Summary, and the Occurrence Tracking Chart. The report provides a spreadsheet of the day's data.

PLRB Catastrophe Services also provides all data in geocoded ArcView and MapInfo Geographic Information Systems (GIS) formats. PLRB eases the use of PLRB's geocoded data, as well as providing a simple method for member insurers to overlay their geocoded business data on maps by making available to members our own purpose-built geocoding software, the PLRB Desktop Mapper.

Going further, our internet mapping system, PLRB Map, allows The Property & Liability Resource Bureau members and affiliates to conduct address-specific historical claims and underwriting research for all data in our system--lightning probability, tornado, hail, wind, flooding, wild fire, earthquake, etc. The data is displayed on a map, the features of which include state, county, city, and ZIP code boundaries, as well as streets, rivers, lakes, railroads, etc. The data also includes time-stamped satellite and aerial survey images as part of the overlay selections. PLRB Map thus adds a spatial view to the text and tabular views. Loading PLRB Map data onto your computer and using the available PLRB Desktop Mapper or other GIS software, you can overlay your company's book of business on a map showing catastrophe events while still protecting the proprietary information in your book of business.

For 2010, PLRB Map is being enhanced with hourly mapped raw data on severe weather events, providing current geocoded reports to loss managers about on-going events throughout the life of a storm system. PLRB Map is also being further enhanced by using geocoded Shapefiles to outline boundaries of severe weather and other activity on maps.

All our daily reports are also available as archived historical information for events which damaged property going back to 1950. This archive allows accurate historical claims investigation and underwriting research and analysis for any spot in the United States. The occurrences included are: tornadoes, hail greater than .75", wind in excess of 58 MPH, flooding, earthquakes of magnitude 5.0 Richter Scale or greater, major fires such as wildland/urban interface conflagrations, hazardous materials events, explosions, riots, blackouts, and other miscellaneous events such as ice storms. The data are presented in a readable text format or as GIS data files. The information is also presented in graphical formats, such as the popular lightning probability charts that are obtained by entering a date range and submitting the search.

The Catastrophe Main Page also links to catastrophe-oriented reference materials, such as policyholder communication documents for both personal and commercial lines, and a Catastrophe Claims Management Manual to help members plan their own catastrophe response.

Severe Weather Forecast

Information about the chance of severe weather, based on forecasts from the National Weather Service Storm Prediction Center, is also available from the Catastrophe Main Page. Information is updated by the Storm Prediction Center automatically throughout the day. The daily Threats Assessment provides an summary of seismic and weather-related risks that could produce large numbers of property claims. It includes geocoded versions of the high risk storm areas in the ArcView and MapInfo formats, viewable charts and maps, and links to government scientific Web sites for more detailed data.

Watches and Warnings

Current Tornado, Severe Thunderstorm, Flood, Tropical Storm, and Hurricane watches and warnings issued by the National Weather Service Storm Prediction Center and National Hurricane Center are also linked to the Catastrophe Main Page.

Tropical Weather

Data regarding active and inactive Atlantic and Pacific storms includes a log of all U. S. watches and warnings. Also included are charts and maps of the projected and actual track, the projected and actual landfall analyzed by ZIP code, and actual landfall wind speed tables. The data are provided in a readable text version, as a spreadsheet, with graphical maps and charts, with satellite images, and with radar images. Geocoded data are provided in both the ArcView and the MapInfo formats when the storm is forecast to make landfall on the United States. This may be utilized in your Geographic Information System by overlaying the forecast wind-speed fields on your book-of-business. Tropical Storm and Hurricane watches and warnings provided by the National Hurricane Center are linked from the Web site.