Sensible's Climate Risk Platform

Why and how we built our core platform.
June 14, 2021

Sensible’s Climate Risk Platform

We all face increased risks of severe and volatile weather, and no business or consumer is immune from the impacts of climate change. As humanity contends with the challenges of new and immediate environmental risks, Sensible is building data science and fintech products to help deflect the weather risks of our increasingly uncertain future.

We can’t change the weather, but we can help our partners and their consumers adapt to a changing environment.

Why Now?

Sensible’s Climate Risk Platform is purpose-built to store, access, and quickly analyze decades of climate data for any location in the world. Even five years ago, the software architecture necessary to process and scale this data didn’t exist—and neither did the data itself. 

Up-to-date hourly and sub-hourly weather data can now be obtained globally, at kilometer scale, making a suite of weather risk products possible for the first time. This is thanks to the recent proliferation of earth observing satellites, which are operating at higher resolutions and sampling frequencies than ever before.

Our platform, funded in part by an R&D grant from the National Science Foundation, encapsulates the concepts of predictability, probability, and uncertainty for our users. Through our combination of performant analysis and prioritization of the highest-quality climatology data, Sensible’s insights are a new, powerful tool for both the public and private sectors, and can be used for climate education at every level.

Scalable, extensible, and maintainable

Sensible exists with scalability, extensibility, and maintainability in mind—and our goal from Day One has been to create a developer-friendly platform that can scale to answer emerging questions posed by climate uncertainty.

  • We built a cloud-agnostic architecture to enable a vast array of applications for our platform in the future.
  • We make use of high-resolution historical observations, a bias-corrected and back-testable set of calibrated probabilistic weather forecasts, and climate projections from state-of-the-science climate models.
  • We wrap this data up in a performant, maintainable system that handles queries and analysis with consumer-grade speed and enterprise-quality.

Our novel analysis springs from two key technologies: our Climate Engine and our Parametric Protection Platform, which mutually support one another on behalf of consumers, businesses, and public institutions. And for every Sensible partner, our ergonomic public API is an invaluable cherry on top, making integration and maintenance a breeze. 

Climate Engine

Our Climate Engine allows us to analyze climate risk using the highest-quality data and modeling available. It’s flexible enough to allow us to ask about any type of weather event (rain, snow, humidity, etc), anywhere in the world, for any date.

In order to accurately and quickly price millions of weather risks, we need to calculate the likelihood of a multitude of events in parallel. No existing technologies were suitable for solving this exact problem, particularly at scale, so we built our own.

We use the Climate Engine to perform queries with close to real-time latency, which would take minutes using other technologies. It’s able to scale automatically to meet demand, and the data returned is accurate, easy to understand, and thoughtfully designed for end users.

We built our system with extensibility in mind, and it’s easy to add on to our platform to take advantage of additional weather data sets, variables, and analysis. Today, our platform perfectly suits our product needs, and was built with the clear intention of being a stand-alone weather analytics platform—that could also perfectly suite the needs of future applications.

In other words, we’ve built a climate data platform without compromises.

Parametric Platform

The second key technology is our Parametric Protection Platform. It manages the end-to-end lifecycle of every parametric contract, as well as all of Sensible’s products and users. Whatever type of coverage, payout model, constraint, or validation check our partners need—Sensible’s data model will support it.

Our Parametric Platform is both user-centric and highly customizable in terms of its policy offerings. All pricing is computed at the moment of a policy’s creation, and based on the time of year, location, and coverage amount. Each policy is a direct reflection of the risk of a weather event taking place. 

We provide our partners with control, and help them design a policy type that’s both perfectly suited to their business needs, and that allows for targeted price points and coverage periods. Our platform provides fully-automated quote and policy generation, loss detection, claims processing, and payouts.

Together, the Climate Engine and Parametric Platform enable Sensible to provide a fast, accurate, and cloud-agnostic environment with a huge variety of applications. For our partners, our goal is to ensure new revenue streams and opportunities to build customer satisfaction and loyalty—regardless of bad weather.

Harnessing the power of public climate data for new applications

The demand for climate analytics and risk management tools is skyrocketing as people and markets try to grasp how the climate is changing around them.

Funding from the National Science Foundation has been instrumental in the creation of our Climate Risk Platform. This support from the public (along with our use of distributed cloud technologies) allows us to increase access to, and applications for, new supercomputer data.

We plan to provide open access to our various raw, canonical, and analytics end points for use by other scientific and academic communities around the world. In doing so, we hope to encourage deeper research, learning, and development of global climate science.

Contact our partnerships team to learn how Sensible can improve your customer experience—and your bottom line.

Alice Fuller

Head of Engineering

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Partner with Sensible

Get in touch with our partnerships team to see how we can work together.

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