Outbreak News Today Reports on the Metabiota Epidemic Tracker with Ben Oppenheim, PhD

The World Economic Forum believes pandemics could cause a $570 billion annual loss to the global economy.  Recently, the Leader in Epidemic Risk Modeling, Metabiota, released a free tool for tracking events that could impact human and economic health. It’s called the Metabiota Epidemic Tracker, a free, new platform to view, analyze and understand events that could impact people, industries and nations. Joining me today to look at this is the Head of Product at Metabiota, Ben Oppenheim, PhD. To listen to the podcast interview, click here.

Why 2019 is the year of proof

With lots of enthusiasm, but many siloed pilots, few insurance carriers have a well-established and mature strategy for partnering with insurtech companies. Insurers and their employees are instead at the stage of building business cases for injecting technology and engaging with insurtech start-ups. But the return on equity equation to prove the benefits is not so simple. For the numerator of the return on investment (ROI) equation, it’s important to evaluate how to quantify customer satisfaction and retention, while also expanding risk appetite and investing in full-time equivalent employee reduction. In tandem, it is also important to quantify the risk of disrupting an insurance process that functions well but is not up to the standards that consumers have come to expect in other industries. So, how does a carrier prove to its management and its board that partnering with insurtech start-ups can provide operational efficiencies and “tech proof” their company for the future? This year may be the year where carriers have to build this ROI, especially if they have a limited budget for innovation and want to continue creating partnerships. To read more of this article, click here.

Corporate Risk and Insurance: Why 2019 is the year of better data analytics for risk management

In the second of three guest posts highlighting predictions for the insurance industry in 2019 , Kate Sampson, Metabiota advisory board member and insurtech advisor/expert and the first vice president of risk solutions at Lyft highlights why with the continued increase in the use of data and analytics across all of the insurance ecosystem, particularly as it relates to the underwriting process, companies in the year ahead will rely more heavily on more real-time data to make more informed decisions and more robust policies/solutions. As a result, she believes companies will evolve and tap into better and more timely insights to make more informed decisions. Which is why 2019 is the year of better data analytics…. The increase in the amount and access to new and richer data is sparking transformational change in the insurance industry. Between the sheer volume of data and rapid advances in data science, AI and machine learning, this information revolution is contributing to a significant growth in new insights and understanding about private and public sector vulnerabilities to perils. Particularly over the last decade, we have seen the industry take vast amounts of structured “historical” data and apply new algorithms and predictive models to improve underwriting results. However, we are still in the early stages of the industry using “real-time” and unstructured data in the underwriting, product development, claims and risk management processes. To read more of this article, click here.

Insights from the International Conference on (Re-)Emerging Infectious Diseases Conference

International Conference on (Re-)Emerging Infectious Diseases I had the privilege of attending the 2nd annual International Conference on (Re-) Emerging Infectious Diseases (ICREID) in Addis Ababa, Ethiopia, last month. This event was organized by Africa CDC and took place in the awe-inspiring headquarters of the African Union. The host, Africa CDC, was established in 2017 to coordinate public health agencies across the continent to prevent, prepare for, and respond to infectious diseases. ICREID brings together researchers and policymakers to exchange the latest research on emerging and reemerging infectious diseases that continue to plague the globe. There are many programs tackling these diseases in Africa, but they often work independently; coordinating efforts across the large, diverse land mass is a tremendous challenge. Conference attendees are on a mission to work together to prevent epidemic events, like the ongoing outbreak of Ebola in the Democratic Republic of the Congo, as well as reduce the persistent burden of other diseases, like meningitis and malaria, that cause enormous human and economic damage locally as well as worldwide. The focus is to develop long-term regional improvements, such as investments in infrastructure to tackle the problem in a new and more efficient way. As background, Metabiota is a partner of the African Risk Capacity Outbreaks and Epidemics (ARC O&E), which will deliver an innovative epidemic risk management tool to participating African nations. Under the auspices of the African Union, this project gives decision-makers a view of pathogen-specific, subnational preparedness and response-capacity alongside reported epidemic data and modeled potential losses. This view of risk is provided in conjunction with sovereign parametric insurance for a new, predictable funding mechanism during outbreaks. The brilliant and diverse minds in the room meant there were a lot of fruitful and bold ideas, and  while there are numerous learnings from the event about how to better tackle epidemic risk, a few big ones stood out to me: Communication and transparency are critical during outbreaks. Despite advances in treatment and outbreak response, these events persist when communities lack trust in outbreak responders. Infectious disease risk varies within countries and across the world. Thorough risk assessment is critical for resource allocation and epidemic preparedness. Development of an integrated platform approach to infectious disease response is an efficient way to coordinate the distribution of human, material and financial resources. By bringing together advocates for change and experts in epidemiology, events like ICREID are powerful platforms to develop tangible methods for improving the world’s resilience to infectious diseases.

International Travel and Health Insurance Journal Reports on Metabiota's "New infectious disease tracker"

Metabiota, which provides risk analytics to assist organisations and companies in building resilience to epidemics and protecting global health, has launched a new tracker that can monitor infectious disease threats on a global scale. The Metabiota Epidemic Tracker is a new platform where events that could impact people, industries and nations can be viewed, analysed and understood. It is optimised for a range of users, including corporate risk managers keen to protect their workforces, travellers and people interested in the global health landscape.  For more on this article, click here.

FastCompany Reviews Metabiota's Epidemic Tracker: "Watch epidemics as they spread in real time with this new disease map"

We all know what the map looks like. We’ve seen it in movies and TV shows countless times–it depicts one red dot becoming a red circle and then a red world, as doctors race to contain a global outbreak. Now that map is a real thing you can explore. Built by Metabiota, a company that consults with governments on the spread of infectious diseases, their Epidemic Tracker allows you to track 70 epidemics occurring right now across the globe. Countries facing epidemics don’t glow a scary red, however. They appear in a cool blue. Clicking around, I learn that measles and salmonella are the most common across the U.S. and Europe–the results of anti-vaccination campaigns and food contamination, respectively. Meanwhile, Mexico and Brazil are dealing with Zika spread by mosquitos, and Nigeria is battling Lassa virus caused by rodents. Read more here.

Metabiota Launches New Epidemic Tracker Website

The World Economic Forum believes pandemics could cause a $570 billion annual loss to the global economy. With the proliferation of infectious disease threats, including the resurgence of Measles resulting in New York declaring a public health emergency last week to a recently discovered pathogen called Candida auris that has emerged globally as a multidrug-resistant infection, it has become more critical than ever before to have better insights into outbreaks and ongoing epidemics. That is why today Metabiota has launched the Metabiota Epidemic Tracker, a free, new platform to view, analyze and understand events that could impact people, industries and nations. “Until now, there has not been an effective way for organizations to plan for — and mobilize against — emerging health threats,” said Bill Rossi, CEO of Metabiota. “As we saw from the impact of the Zika virus, where travel alerts correlated to significant financial losses for the hospitality industry, infectious disease events can cause a ripple effect of health and economic hardships. This tracker aligns with Metabiota’s mission to make the world more resilient to human and economic health threats by providing an open, focused and balanced view into emerging and ongoing outbreaks.” Based on detailed information for over 120 pathogens, each with its unique profile, history and up-to-date statistics, including reported cases and deaths, The Epidemic Tracker is optimized for a wide range of users, from corporate risk managers assessing risks that could impact their organizations to health and safety professionals protecting their workforces to travel enthusiasts and anyone curious about the global health landscape. "Data and reports on epidemics are often unstructured, messy, and difficult to analyze,” said Ben Oppenheim, Head of Product at Metabiota. “A key part of Metabiota’s approach is to carefully collate, structure and validate this data, in order to understand how epidemic risk is unfolding over space and time. This tracker is designed to remove the complexities and deliver a simple and intuitive view of outbreaks around the world.” With its near real-time analysis of outbreaks and its downloadable biweekly reports called “The Current Global Outbreaks of Concern,” The Epidemic Tracker specifically aims to help corporations at-risk of being impacted by epidemics, such as those in the hospitality, tourism, sports, entertainment, airline, and livestock sectors, along with government organizations, like city and state public entities as well as those operating in national defense, intelligence, and disease research environments. For more information, visit https://www.epidemictracker.com. For a copy of the press release content above, please click here.

The Evolution of Parametric Insurance

As excerpted from the article ... Epidemic and Pandemic Protection In 2018, Marsh collaborated with Munich Re and epidemic risk modeling firm Metabiota to create PathogenRX, a parametric insurance product designed to protect against the economic impact of infectious disease outbreaks. The product was designed for industries “that depend on people to show up,” like hotels and sporting events, said Christian Ryan, U.S. hospitality, sports and entertainment leader at Marsh. If public anxiety over an outbreak of Zika or Ebola keeps people away, those businesses can fail, and often do so quickly. The product uses a pathogen sentiment index developed by Metabiota that gauges public fear and behavioral change in the wake of an epidemic outbreak. According to Metabiota CEO Bill Rossi, the index was made possible by advances in disease tracking and reporting, software machine learning and artificial intelligence. Alerts by health authorities and fatality counts can also be used to measure the size of an outbreak. “With PathogenRX, we are pushing the boundaries of insurability,” said Gunther Kraut, head of epidemic risk solutions at Munich Re. “On this basis, risk layering within the policy structures is possible, which helps to achieve attractive risk premiums. The economic loss resulting from the epidemic event, however, is typically indemnified.” In this sense, it is actually a hybrid parametric insurance solution. To read the full article, click here.

Metabiota Insurance Advisory Board Member Discusses how "2019 is the year of alignment"

This is a transformative time for the insurance industry as it approaches the next phase of innovation to meet the evolving needs of the market. To help corporate risk managers and decision makers better understand the best ways to stay ahead of these changes, a collection of industry experts and advisory board members to Metabiota, the provider of epidemic risk modeling, is sharing top insights for 2019 and how companies can prepare and capitalize on the biggest opportunities. In the first of three guest posts, Gretchen Hayes, Metabiota advisory board member and venture partner at Sandbox Industries is digging into why she believes 2019 is the year of alignment… Recently the keynote speaker at a large insurance industry event challenged the audience to define the insurance business. He pointed out that had Kodak seen itself not in the camera business, but in the “preserving memories” business, its business model might have evolved long before the slow march to bankruptcy. As insurance professionals, many tend to label it as “the business of risk” or “loss prevention,” when, more broadly, we are actually in the “giving piece of mind” business. For risk managers of large companies, that mission typically means giving peace of mind to shareholders, employees and the Board of Directors, and can translate into a motto of “minimizing maximum regret!” To read more, click here.

International Travel and Insurance Journal publishes new Metabiota blog "Zika’s Impact on Tourism"

Mark Gallivan, Lead Data Scientist at Metabiota, explores how analysis of social media can help to calculate the economic burden of disease outbreaks such as Zika   Babymoon.  NOUN A relaxing or romantic holiday taken by parents-to-be before their baby is born. - Oxford English Dictionary   Zika, microcephaly, and Latin America Expectant parents ask themselves many questions when deciding upon a babymoon locale. Should I go somewhere with a beach? How expensive are the hotels? And now, thanks to the Zika virus, does this location put my baby at risk for microcephaly?  Evidence is now overwhelming, but the link connecting microcephaly (abnormal smallness of a newborn baby’s head) and the Zika virus was originally met with doubt. Before 2015, Zika virus outbreaks (spread by mosquitoes) were much smaller, with no reports of microcephaly. Over the course of the recent Latin American Zika outbreak, Brazil and other countries began to report abnormally high numbers of cases and babies born with microcephaly.  The link between Zika and microcephaly was a game changer for how the public health community responded to the virus. The World Health Organization declared the Zika outbreak to be a Global Health Emergency and governments began awareness campaigns largely aimed at pregnant women.  To read more of this blog, click here.