COP26 and flood resilience - Flood Focus Issue 6

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Thought for the week... COP26 to highlight the importance of flood resilience

COP26 begins at the end of the month, and it is arguably the most important since it began almost 30 years ago. The IPCC’s Sixth Assessment Report (AR6) which was published in August 2021 stated how it is “unequivocal” that human influence has warmed the climate at an unprecedented rate. This is affecting weather and climate extremes in all areas of the world. Analysis by Gamma Location Intelligence has found that as a result of climate change, over one million properties in Great Britain will be newly at risk of flooding by 2050. This poses a potential insurance liability of £122 billion.

According to the UN, one of the main aims of COP26 is to encourage countries to build defences, warning systems and resilient infrastructure and agriculture. Building up resilience will shift the reliance on insurers to carry the full costs of flooding events. We explored the main measures for building flood resilience and what our corporate members are doing in this article.

In conversation with Verisk: Address-level risk assessment

Verisk uses data enrichment and predictive modelling to help insurers assess and price risk, improve underwriting and claims, and build resilience to extreme events. Jes Westerman, Verisk’s Head of Strategic Projects, discusses the differences between address and postcode-level data for risk assessment, the challenges with using address-level data, and how Verisk’s Data Insight Hub can help insurers.

Steel Yard Event: Real Time Hazard Data - Around Us and Above Us

Our next live event features companies that are providing insurers with accurate and consistent data for climate perils, such as flood, and other risks. Join us to hear how real time hazard data and satellite imaging is helping improve portfolio loss estimates and claims processes from sponsors ICEYE, Skyline Partners, Fathom, McKenzie Intelligence Services, Atrium, Addresscloud, Gamma Location Intelligence, BirdsEyeView and Vave.

In the news...

Swiss Re and Munich Re announce losses from Hurricane Ida and European flood

Swiss Re was the first big reinsurer to release preliminary loss estimates from Ida. The company estimates its claims from the event to be $750 million, excluding National Flood Insurance Program (NFIP) impacts. Swiss Re has also updated its loss estimate from the July flooding in Europe to be $520 million. These losses are likely to be concentrated in Germany. Munich Re has also released its loss estimate for Hurricane Ida and the European floods: $1.4 billion and $700 million respectively. The latest estimates of total insured loss for these events as reported by our corporate modelling and analytics members are covered in Issue 5 of Flood Focus.

One Concern partners with Fathom to launch Japan flood risk model

Fathom (founded 2013) will provide One Concern (founded 2015) with flood hazard data, including data for present-day and future climate data scenarios, in order to build One Concern’s resilience solutions for Japan. The model in joint development will account for future changes in sea level rise and pluvial and fluvial flooding for the IPCC’s Representative Concentration Pathway 4.5, which is an intermediate greenhouse gas scenario. As Fathom’s Dr Natalie Lord explained at our event: “Projections of future climate changes need to be incorporated into models so that the changing risk can be assessed”, which is necessary for building resilience solutions. 

Descartes and ICEYE partner for parametric flood solution

MGA Descartes Underwriting has partnered with ICEYE, the satellite company and flood data provider, to develop improved parametric flood insurance triggers. ICEYE’s satellites provide near real-time flood extent and depth data at the building level. Charles Blanchet, VP of Solutions, discussed parametric solutions and ICEYE’s satellite data in the InsTech London podcast episode 128.

JBA updates Australia Flood Map

JBA has remodelled seven regions to a 5m resolution level, ensuring that all major urban areas and 56% of Australia’s population are now captured by this higher resolution mapping. JBA has also updated its terrain data, including new lidar data covering over 70% of the population. Matthew Grant spoke to Jane Toothill and Matt Reid about JBA’s global flood modelling on podcast episode 136.

Willis Re launches new flood model for MENA region

Willis Re has collaborated with KatRisk to launch a new flood model for the Middle East and North Africa region. The model currently covers Morocco, the UAE and Saudi Arabia, with further releases for Oman, Qatar and Egypt during the third and fourth quarter of 2021. The model will be used for pricing insurance contracts and responding to regulatory solvency requirements.

Neptune Flood acquires Jumpstart Insurance

Neptune Flood (founded 2016), which is focused on the US flood market, has purchased Jumpstart. Jumpstart is an MGA that provides parametric earthquake insurance to households and businesses in California, Washington and Oregon. According to Jumpstart’s Kate Stillwell, “flood risk is the logical next peril for consumer parametric”. Listen to Kate discuss how to identify opportunities for new solutions with Matthew on podcast episode 104.

Canada: Floods could cost $13.6bn a year by 2100

JBA's Canada Flood Maps were used in a report by the Canadian Institute for Climate Choices to explore future damages to infrastructure as a result of climate change. It found that flood damage to homes and buildings could increase fivefold by mid-century and tenfold by the end of the century, with costs as high as $13.6 billion annually. launches global flood index, the weather and climate information provider, has released a flood risk index for its data platform. The flood risk index uses both publicly accessible and in-house hydrologic models along with historical data to identify the risk of river and urban flooding up to five days in advance.

Forerunner platform helps with adherence to US NFIP

The platform, founded in 2019, allows city planners to enforce stricter building codes and land use standards, with a focus on mitigating future flood damage. According to Forerunner, Harris County in Texas could potentially save $5 million on their flood insurance premiums with better adherence to federal standards.

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