Hail Prediction Service Sought by 2 Japanese Non-Life Insurers

Yomiuri Shimbun file photo
Hail that fell in Chiba Prefecture in 2000

The nation’s first hail prediction notification service could start as soon as fiscal 2024, according to two non-life insurance companies working to create the system.

Mitsui Sumitomo Insurance Co. and Aioi Nissay Dowa Insurance Co., both under MS&AD Insurance Group Holdings, Inc., are planning to provide the service mainly to the about 40 million holders of their automobile insurance and fire and accident insurance policies.

Hail is difficult to predict, so the service aims to use 3D image analysis technology with information from government-owned weather radars. The analysis work includes discerning rain and ice in the atmosphere.

The forecast will be sent via a smartphone app or email 20 to 30 minutes ahead of the predicted arrival of hail to policyholders living in areas where there is a high probability based on hail damage data held by the two insurance companies.

As hail is localized, it can cause extensive damage to vehicles and housing.

When hail fell in the Kanto region in June last year, the two companies received more than 45,000 damage reports from policyholders, which resulted in insurance payouts totaling ¥42.8 billion.

If damage is extensive, it is possible that policyholders might not be able to fully afford the costs of repair within their insurance coverage.