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ZestyAI Founder Takes the Main Stage at AON Analytics Conference with IBHS and CalFire to Discuss Wildfire Risk Modeling

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Zesty<sup>AI</sup> Founder Takes the Main Stage at AON Analytics Conference with IBHS and CalFire to Discuss Wildfire Risk Modeling

The ZestyAI Team Shares Next-Generation Wildfire Risk Assessment Tech at Aon’s Analytics Insights Conference

Aug 6, 2019 | 4 min Read

The Zest

  • was one of three insurtech startups selected to present at Aon’s 2019 Analytics Insights Conference.
  • Founder and Head of Product, Kumar Dhuvur, took the main stage with CalFire and IBHS to speak to the audience about the future of wildfire risk modeling.
  •’s wildfire risk product, Z-FIRE, is designed to automatically assess individual homeowners’ wildfire risk characteristics to help insurers more accurately assess, price, and market product.

Within less than two decades, wildfire destruction has caused a total economic loss of $149 billion, according to Aon’s 2018 Annual Weather, Climate & Catastrophe Insight report. Just last year alone, wildfire damage in the U.S. exceeded more than $20 billion.

The risk of wildfire destruction remains a significant risk for property owners across the U.S., which can especially be seen in California where nearly 240 wildfires broke out within a week earlier this year. As wildfire risk continues to increase, stakeholders are searching for ways to assess associated property risk assessment.

To confront the issue and offer more effective solutions, was invited to discuss wildfire risk modeling last month at Aon’s 2019 Analytics Insights Conference.

The Aon Analytics Insights Conference

Aon’s 14th annual Analytics Insights Conference, held last month in Chicago, focuses on the latest trends and opportunities in the insurance industry. The two-day event gathers more than 300 attendees including top industry experts, scholars, insurance executives and rising professionals. was among the attendees as one of three insurtech startups selected to speak at the event.

“The futuring mindset for innovation” was the theme for this year’s Analytics Insights Conference. As such, various topics including AI, cyber, machine learning, climate change, intellectual property were covered at the event.

To help educate the audience on AI’s role in wildfire risk assessment, Founder and Head of Product, Kumar Dhuvur, was invited to speak at the conference. Additionally, Scott Anderson,’s Head of Sales & Customer Success, partnered with Aon to lead an overview of’s wildfire risk product, Z-FIRE. The most popular workshop at the conference, the sold-out Z-FIRE session was held twice.

AI’s Modern Role in Wildfire Risk Assessment

Invited to share his expertise on wildfire risk modeling, Dhuvur took the main stage accompanied by the California Department of Forestry and Fire Protection (CalFire) and the Insurance Institute for Business and Home Safety (IBHS).  The discussion panel was moderated by Dan Dick, AON’s Executive Managing Director and Head of Catastrophic Risk Analytics.

Instead of using regional level attributes to assess risk, leverages artificial intelligence (AI) technology to zero in on property level attributes to more accurately predict how wildfires will impact a particular property.

“This is a big step up in model resolution compared to current wildfire products available in the market,” Dhuvur explained.

Six months into 2019, already more than 355,000 acres have been burned by wildfires in the U.S., according to the Insurance Information Institute. And, with California’s recent wildfires in mind, Dhuvur stressed the importance of better understanding this specific natural peril, urging attendees to embrace AI solutions as a new way to reduce risk exposure from natural catastrophes such as wildfires.

How is Changing Wildfire Risk Assessment with Z-FIRE™
Revolutionizing risk assessment,’s wildfire risk product, Z-FIRE™, is designed to automatically assess a homeowner’s risk characteristics and potential danger.

Using high-resolution satellite, aerial imagery, and additional data sources, the AI-powered model can be used by insurers to correctly assess a specific property’s exposure in wildfire-prone states. With this information, insurers can recommend smarter options to reduce risk at individual properties. With Z-FIRE, insurers will also gain the necessary insight to adjust prices appropriately per risk.

“Using Z-FIRE to underwrite and price wildfire risk at the property level helps to address regulatory concerns that products currently on the market lack the level of granularity required,” Dhuvur explains

The data-driven risk model can also be used by insurers to adjust their marketing strategies. Armed with the knowledge Z-FIRE provides, insurers are able to target customers closely in-line with their risk tolerance. Z-FIRE can also be leveraged by re-insurers to evaluate their portfolios by aggregating accurate risk predictions at the property level.

“Z-FIRE is a game-changer in wildfire risk assessment,” Dhuvur says. “It leverages 20+ property-specific characteristics—such as building materials and the amount and type of vegetation on-site at a property—to compute specific wildfire risk.”

In addition to wildfires, is also changing the way insurance companies assess the risk of other natural catastrophes such as using similar AI to revolutionize the future of flood risk assessment.

If you’re interested in learning more about how AI is transforming risk assessment, check out the blog, or email us at

About AON
Aon plc (NYSE:AON) is a leading global professional services firm providing a broad range of risk, retirement and health solutions. Our 50,000 colleagues in 120 countries empower results for clients by using proprietary data and analytics to deliver insights that reduce volatility and improve performance.  To learn more about AON in numbers visit the attached fact sheet.

About is the leading partner for property & casualty insurance companies embarking on digital transformation. The company harnesses the power of artificial intelligence on cutting-edge data sources including aerial imagery to model risk to real property. leverages predictive algorithms on 130+Bn data points to understand the potential impact of natural catastrophes on individual properties with unprecedented accuracy. Insurance companies rely on these property risk insights to make smart marketing, underwriting and rating decisions.  For more information, visit

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