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: text, spreadsheets, static maps, as well as GIS data including: shapefiles, KML, and map services.

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, ice storms, debris flows, earthquake, tropical storms and hurricanes, major fires, explosions, hazardous materials events, riots, and other occurrences that are likely to cause multiple claims.

Daily Email Alerts

The Severe Storm & Occurrence Summary (SSOS) is emailed to our member mailing list each morning and provides a list of perils for the 24 hour period through 6AM of the current day. Included is a comma-separated values (CSV) file in plain text format for import into a database. The Threats Assessment is emailed every weekday and some weekends and details forecasted weather events and ongoing disasters that may affect the insured from the current day to the next several days. It includes severe weather, tropical weather, fire weather, heavy snow/icing, precipitation, & flooding.

Major Events Catastrophe Bulletins

PLRB creates and maintains web pages for specific major events such as hurricanes, major floods, wildfires, riots, and volcanic eruptions. Maps (static and interactive), documents (state of emergencies and evacuation orders, if available), and data analysis are included.

Map Services

A map service makes maps, features, and attribute data available inside many types of client applications. PLRB Catastrophe Services makes maps in ArcMap (the main component of Esri's ArcGIS suite of geospatial processing programs), then publishes the maps as services to our ArcGIS Server site. Internet or intranet users can then use the map service in web applications, ArcGIS for Desktop, ArcGIS Online, and other client applications. Benefits of integrating include:

  • Enable analyses while keeping your sensitive claims and policy data behind your firewall
  • Streamline workflow by automating searches
  • Users only need to use one system
  • Run your own proprietary analyses using desktop mapping applications

Map services are available for:

  • Perils (includes tornado, hail, wind, flood, freezing rain, debris flow reports and several others)
  • Lightning Probability
  • NEXRAD Hail Size Estimate
  • Wind Gust Estimate
  • Observed Precipitation
  • Snowfall
  • ShakeMaps (ground shaking produced by earthquakes)
  • Fire Perimeters
  • Fire Smoke Analysis
  • Weather Observations (daily observations from observation stations at airports)
  • Watches, Warnings, & Advisories

Maps and Apps Portal

PLRB Catastrophe Services has created a Maps & Applications Portal utilizing the latest technology from Esri. The smaller focused web apps are intended to allow the user to find information quickly and easily. View maps and search our large database of severe weather and catastrophe geospatial data.

Current Weather & Forecasts Web App - View storms in the open waters of the Pacific and Atlantic Oceans as well as tropical disturbances and the potential for tropical cyclone formation. Other layers available include current radar, near real-time storm reports, NWS watches and warnings, severe weather outlook, precipitation forecast, and more. Users can upload a spreadsheet (CSV file) of their policyholders geolocated addresses and temporarily display them on the map, to determine which policyholders may be impacted by a particular weather event.

Current Weather & Forecasts Web App - Hurricane Florence – September 2018

Wind/Tornado Research Web App - Conduct an address-specific search for nearby tornado and wind reports, National Weather Service damage assessment surveys, weather observation stations, and historical wind-related warnings.


Wind/Tornado Research Web App – North Dallas Tornado – October 20, 2019

Hail Research Web App - Conduct an address-specific search for nearby hail reports, NEXRAD hail size estimates, and historical severe thunderstorm warnings.

Hail Research Web App - Sylvania, GA – March 3, 2019

Lightning Probability Research - Built using the ArcGIS API for JavaScript, this web page allows the user to quickly see if a high probability of lightning existed in the area of a claimant.

Lightning Probability Data – October 20, 2019

Other web apps include Earthquakes, Hail Risk Analysis, Tornado Risk Analysis, Hurricane Dorian, Hurricane Harvey, Hurricane Matthew, Hurricane Michael, Precipitation/Snowfall Research, and Wildfires.