Could 2021 be a record year for insured flood losses? - Flood Focus Issue 4


Flood Focus, InsTech London's newsletter dedicated to flood insurance.

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Thought for the week… could 2021 be a record year for insured flood losses?

July saw record floods occur across the world, and more accurate loss estimates are now being released. Last month, insured loss predictions from the European floods were predicted to be $5 - $6.5 billion by the German Insurance Association (GDV) and $6 billion by AIR. RMS has now released its prediction, which is higher than previous estimates: between $6 and $7.7 billion. According to Aon, the July floods in Germany and China have become those countries’ most costly insured natural disaster loss events in history. It is now widely accepted that climate change is increasing the frequency and severity of flood events. As Matthew Grant wrote recently, the opportunities for organisations building loss modelling tools and providing data to insurers to help them manage flood risk are greater than ever.

Turkey: August sees wildfires and floods

Throughout July and August, Turkey has been hit by its worst ever wildfire season and significant floods. The 11th August floods were triggered by torrential rain, causing buildings to collapse, bridges and cars to be damaged or destroyed, and power supplies to be cut. In 2017, floods in Istanbul cost insurers $57 million.

China: Floods cause $58bn in economic loss per year

According to JBA’s probabilistic flood model, China’s average annual economic loss from flooding is $58 billion. With China’s growth and urban development, the economic toll of flooding has increased by up to $34 billion since the 1990s. Flood insurance coverage for property remains relatively low in China. Less than 6% of total losses from the May 2020 floods were insured.

Lloyd’s Lab: ICEYE joins cohort seven

The satellite company and flood loss data provider has been selected as one of the 11 companies joining the seventh cohort of the Lloyd’s Lab. ICEYE wants to work in the Lab on a solution to help distinguish between damage caused by water, and damage caused by wind from a tropical storm. In addition, it is looking for support in building its wildfire damage solution. We have spoken with ICEYE on an InsTech London podcast and a couple of events.

Expansion: FloodFlash plans to enter the US market

Parametric flood modelling company FloodFlash is planning to expand its cover to other markets including North America. To support this expansion the company has built and successfully tested a miniature version of its flood depth sensor.

Exposure: 24% increase in global population at flood risk 

New research published in the journal Nature used satellite data to identify how the exposure to flood risk has changed since 2010. The research found that 86 million people have moved into observed flood regions and that 90% of flood events since 2000 occurred in South and Southeast Asia.

Acquisition: RMS bought for $2bn

Moody’s Corporation is to acquire RMS for $2 billion. The acquisition of the global provider of climate and natural disaster risk modelling and analytics, including flood models, will immediately increase Moody’s insurance data and analytics business to nearly $500 million in revenue. We recently spoke to Joss Matthewman from RMS about stress tests and climate-conditioned models, which you can watch here.

Acquisition: HazardHub data to be embedded into Guidewire platform

Guidewire has acquired HazardHub, a provider of property risk insights. HazardHub curates and analyses data to deliver a catalogue of risks that may damage or destroy property for the US, including flood. You can listen to the co-founders, Bob Frady and John Siegman, discuss the data that HazardHub provides in the InsTech London podcast episode 135.

Event: What can insurtechs do to tackle climate change?

In 2020, 76% of the economic losses resulting from natural disasters were not covered by insurance. At this event, hosted by Insurtech Gateway, climate experts and companies such as FloodFlash will discuss what can be done.

Job opportunity: Swiss Re looks for Flood Peril Lead

The role involves being responsible for a consistent view of risk for water related perils such as river and pluvial flooding, storm surge or torrential rainfall on a global basis. Experience working in a re/insurance or modelling company with a focus on natural catastrophe risk is required.

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