Insurer appetite indexed on the Ask Kodiak Platform is based on North American Industry Classification System Codes (NAICS). NAICS is the replacement for Standard Industrial Classification (SIC) and was first introduced in 1997. A collaborative effort by United States Office of Management and Budget (OMB), Statistics Canada, and Mexico's Instituto Nacional de EstadĂ­stica y GeografĂ­a (INEGI), NAICS codes are updated every five years to reflect changes in the economy.

In order to provide for the highest levels of classification precision, our methodology makes all levels of the NAICS hierarchy up to and including the sub descriptions associated with 6 digit national industry codes.

Our technique for mapping to other classification taxonomies is based on text description, not numeric codes.

High Definition NAICS (NAICS HD)

As of the 2017 NAICS Edition, there were roughly 1,100 6-digit national industry codes in the model. However Within these national industry codes exist more than 20,000 sub-descriptions. For purposes of precision, it is useful to make these sub-descriptions addressable. We call this approach High Definition NAICS (or NAICS HD). In the same way that a 4k television provides for a higher degree of clarity than a standard definition set, NAICS HD provides for dramatically enhanced precision over the standard NAICS national-industry code.

Illustrative Example

For the insurance industry, classification at the NAICS sub-description level is critical to understanding the nature of the risk. As an illustrative example, take NAICS National Industry 453998, All Other Miscellaneous Store Retailers (Except Tobacco Stores). It has 27 distinct sub-descriptions:

  1. Architectural supply stores
  2. Art supply stores
  3. Auction houses (general merchandise)
  4. Batteries, except automotive, dealers
  5. Beer making supply stores
  6. Binocular stores
  7. Cake decorating supply stores
  8. Calendar shops
  9. Candle shops
  10. Cemetery memorial dealers (e.g., headstones, markers, vaults)
  11. Closet organizer stores
  12. Collectors' items (e.g., autograph, card, coin, stamp) shops (except used rare items)
  13. Electronic cigarette stores
  14. Emergency preparedness supply stores
  15. Fireworks shops (i.e., permanent location)
  16. Flag and banner shops
  17. Flower shops, artificial or dried
  18. Home security equipment stores
  19. Hot tub stores
  20. Janitorial equipment and supplies stores
  21. Marijuana stores, medical or recreational
  22. Monument (i.e., burial marker) dealers
  23. Police supply stores
  24. Religious goods (except books) stores
  25. Swimming pool supply stores
  26. Trophy (including awards and plaques) shops
  27. Wine making supply stores

For Commercial Insurers, the risk associated with Fireworks Shops are very different than that of a Cake Decorating Supply Store!

Creating Unique Identifiers for Each Sub Description

Our technique for making sub-descriptions uniquely addressable is to generate an MD5 hash of the national industry code and the sub-description. This technique guarantees accurate identification of the precise sub-description. Further, anyone implementing the technique can generate this value on demand in any modern programming language.

id = md5(nationalIndustryCode + subDescription);

// an example:
wineStores = md5('453998Wine making supply stores') //FF35D4A284D474D944EBDB7F20711414

Computed identifiers are provided on this site in the "Identifier" section when viewing a specific National Industry Sub-Description.

Why Not Just Make Up A Sequence Number?

This MD5 stuff sounds hard, why not just make up a sequence number, like 453998-10 to mean Cemetery memorial dealers (e.g., headstones, markers, vaults)?

The Illustrative Example above for NAICS National Industry 435998 makes clear why this technique is perilous. In the 2017 NAICS edition, Cemetery memorial dealers were the 10th sub description, however in the 2012 NAICS edition Fireworks Shops were the 10th sub-description. Use of sequence numbers is untenable and if used in classification will expose an insurer to undue risk.


Ask Kodiak helps customers map their legacy classification models to NAICS. Our methodology bases mappings on business descriptions, not codes. Insurance industry codes are typically unreliable for classification purposes as they are often too broad to be of use or mean different things depending on the date or state to which they apply. Our model is thusly based on the business meaning of a legacy classification and maps that text description to 1-n NAICS National Industry Sub-Description Identifiers.

Some of these mappings have been made available on this site for your reference. When browsing a NAICS edition here you will find this list of mappings where available as a list on the bottom of 6 Digit National Industry and National Industry Sub-Description pages.

I don't want to spend all day on this. Can you automate my mappings?

Heck yes, we do this all day. We have the best class mapping tools in the insurance industry hands down. Drop us a line for more info.