The Zika virus may be bad for sellers of tank tops this summer, but it could be good for makers of bug spray and pandemic risk analysis tools.
Boston-based catastrophe modeling company AIR Worldwide has updated its marketing effort to point out that its emerging infectious diseases information and analysis tools can help health insurers, health plans and other providers of health-related products and services keep tabs on Zika.
AIR is best known for releasing instant estimates of the financial impact caused by earthquakes, wildfires and other disasters. Doug Fullam, a life actuary at AIR and who is also involved with pandemic modeling efforts at the Schaumburg, Ill.-based Society of Actuaries, declined to share AIR Zika impact forecasts.
But he said his company is looking at the possible impact of Guillain-Barre Syndrome, which can cause paralysis in adults and children, as well the damage of Zika can do to fetal neurological development.
“Those two things can be very expensive, medically,” Fullam said.
Fullam is also tracking other diseases, including Ebola, which recently resurfaced in Africa, and Middle East Respiratory Syndrome, which continues to circulate in Saudi Arabia. Some clients are interested in conditions such as Dengue fever, Rift Valley fever and the bubonic plague.
AIR offers the emerging disease services alongside services to help insurers track influenza, the disease that gives life and health carriers chronic nightmares. The deadliest modern flu pandemic, the pandemic of 1918, killed about 50 million people around the world.
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