Software company MapInfo has launched an internet-based mapping and risk management solution for insurers.

The system can be used to assist the underwriting and claims process.

Insurance Decision Solution Suite (IDSS) links business information, such as live policy data, claims information and potential perils. This is coupled with a mapping interface to provide users with a visual representation of the data.

Insurers can, for instance, locate all insured properties and their proximity to natural hazards, such as flood plains. A live data feed can be run from the Met Office to provide up-to-date details of weather conditions. And the location of approved suppliers can be recorded.

IDSS can also conduct assessments of insurers' potential total liability following, for example a terrorist bomb.

The system features a reporting tool enabling users to generate location-based risk and probable maximum loss (PML) reports.

Group marketing manager for Europe Simon de la Hoyde said that while the information was often already available to insurers, there was generally no simple way to access the information from one terminal. Unlike other business intelligence systems, he said, IDSS allows a user to access the information online from any computer as there is no software to install.

Hoyde said IDSS allowed insurers to conduct policy and underwriting analyses more effectively.

"It can also be used in the claims process, either to improve customer service by enabling the handler to pick the closest approved supplier, or as a claims validation/fraud detection tool.

"For instance, the handler can check windspeeds at certain time to establish wind damage claims."

Hoyde said that the company was looking to include aerial maps, which could also assist claims validation.

Electronic connections to field operatives, such as loss adjusters, was also being explored.

This would provide geographical data to help with scheduling.