18 February 2020

How can construction underwriting prepare for a BIM-driven future?

BY: David Pope | IN: Articles


As the pace of Building Information Modelling (BIM) increases, insurers and underwriters must adapt their practices to take full advantage of the information available. Although BIM adoption is currently largely driven by the Government-mandated use of level 2 BIM on all public sector projects, it’s only a matter of time before it spreads to commercial and residential construction — and the insurance industry needs to be ready.

BIM’s collaborative way of using and sharing work products in construction delivers documented, accessible and usable information that can support effective decision making by the insurance industry.

BIM is the key to creating a comprehensive picture of the project to be insured. It captures information that was previously unavailable at increased levels of granularity.

Plus, it presents the information in a highly structured format that makes both existing and new information easier to access and interpret reliably — with a level of transparency previously unavailable.

Given access to the BIM data, the insurer will be able to achieve a 360-degree visualisation of the risk in real time, significantly improving the assessment process by ensuring the policy accurately reflects the risk.

This is just the first step in unlocking the value of BIM for insurance. Applying BIM alongside new technologies such as the Internet of Things will accelerate the transformation of buildings into smart, optimised intelligent structures.

Insurers will be able to track the development of these smart buildings from initial design through to operation by meshing BIM data with their own underwriting systems.

This will mean they can assess the feasibility of the project and quality of the design information, such as site investigations, right from the start.

From there, insurers will be able to access real time information across a host of areas, from the condition, usage and maintenance of the building, to the behaviour of building users and conditions within the perimeter — all through the lens of codes and regulations.

As a result, insurers would be able to operate real time policies, monitoring compliance with warranties and policy conditions continually and receiving real time notifications of any code or regulation breaches.


So how close are we to this vision becoming a workable reality? I foresee the currently patchy adoption of BIM in construction approaching critical mass over the next few years, ready to tip over into more generalised use.
Alongside this upward trend, I’m keeping a close eye on work to bring BIM into the operational phase of projects by creating digital ‘twins’ that will converge engineering, operational and information technologies into a digital replica of the physical entity.
It will be important for insurers to stay abreast of these developments so they can adjust their systems to receive the flow of information from insured buildings.
Only by creating these links will insurers be able to take advantage of BIM to better manage risks on projects and provide a better claims experience.
CCi is already working to bring the benefits of BIM to the insurance industry so we can continue to support underwriters into the future.

In conjunction with London Engineering Group (LEG) we’re identifying the information flows the sector needs from BIM to establish how underwriters can best interrogate and evaluate the digital construction strategy of projects.