How different flood types impact flood risk

Guest author and SpatialKey data partner, JBA Risk Management, explains how flood data and mapping innovations can help insurers succeed in the U.S. private flood insurance market.  

In order for insurers to most effectively understand flood risk, they must have access to data that provides a full picture of the hazard, including the different flood types that might affect a property: fluvial, pluvial, and storm surge. Although it may seem that flood is just flood, it’s important to understand the different flood types due to the various impacts each flood type can have on a property, and thus different levels of damage.

Accounting for elevation & urbanization with high-resolution data

Guest author and SpatialKey data partner, JBA Risk Management, explains how flood data and mapping innovations can help insurers succeed in the U.S. private flood insurance market. 

More than 200 million people and two-thirds of the 48 contiguous states are at risk from flooding, according to Edward Clark, Director of the U.S. National Water Center. This demonstrates the major threat that flooding poses to the reinsurance industry in the U.S. In light of this hazard, the U.S. private insurance market is growing, with 2017 reporting $600 million in premiums, an increase of USD $217 million over 2016. But why isn’t this figure higher? And, why do approximately 85 percent of U.S. homeowners lack flood insurance policies?

How technology has improved flood modeling

Guest author and SpatialKey data partner, JBA Risk Management, explains how flood data and mapping innovations can help insurers succeed in the U.S. private flood insurance market. 

Flood is a complex natural catastrophe, with great variations across small spatial areas, producing extremely localized effects. Sometimes, one property may be badly flooded while its neighbor two doors down is spared. As a result, managing this risk is often seen as a challenge by U.S. insurers. In fact, although 90 percent of all natural disasters in the U.S. involve flooding according to the Insurance Information Institute, it could still be regarded as the least understood natural peril. 

Spring flooding worsened by record US snowpack

When low temps prevent thawing between winter storms, snowpack condenses to store significant precipitation that can lead to springtime flooding. One cubic foot of snow can contain anywhere from 1 to 3 gallons of water. (Image: FEMA/Andrea Booher)

Flood models: Built with climate change in mind

Many of the data partners we work with here at SpatialKey are at the forefront of data science, and actively working to innovate modeling approaches to better understand the impact of climate change on flood risk. As carriers, brokers, and MGAs well know, models and their outputs are nuanced, and data providers have different views on climate change and modeling flood risk. That’s why it’s important to have multiple views of risk at your disposal, so you can identify the right models and model components that best represent your lines of business, geography, and business practices.

2019 is going to be BIG for U.S. private flood insurance

  1. Advancements in flood mapping, model science, and analytics mean insurers have the information they need to more accurately quantify and price flood risk  
  2. NFIP is openly acknowledging the need for more private sector involvement, with (fingers crossed) more favorable legislation likely coming down the pike
  3. Consumers and businesses alike are becoming savvier to the need for flood insurance or better coverage (e.g. Hurricane Florence exposed a large protection gap with an estimated 70% of total losses uninsured)
  4. Insurers are looking for new markets and areas to expand their portfolios—and US flood is a leading candidate
  5. With an extensive amount of excess capital in the market, now is a prime time for startups, re/insurers, MGAs, and brokers to partner up—and dip their toes in the private flood pool

NFIP update: What P&C insurers need to know

At a glance:

  • National Flood Insurance Program (NFIP) was extended (again) on Thursday, Dec 6
  • This was the ninth short-term extension in 2018, and the eighteenth extension since 2008
  • Congress has until Friday, Dec 21 to pass another extension 
  • A long-term solution remains elusive while the NFIP continues to lose an estimated $1.4 billion each year and remains $20+ billion in debt to the US Treasury
  • Despite the NFIP, the private flood insurance market grew $217 million in 2017

Streamlined access to JBA's 5m Florida Flood Maps

Global flood expert, JBA Risk Management (JBA), and leading data enrichment and geospatial insurance analytics firm, SpatialKey, have collaborated to provide JBA’s new 5 meter flood maps and associated pricing data to insurers who underwrite and manage flood risk in the state of Florida. These are the most detailed flood maps available for Florida and the start of the initial rollout of JBA’s high-resolution maps for the continental United States. The maps are now available for use within SpatialKey and will bring increased insight into flood risk to the wider insurance community.

Q&A with KatRisk, global catastrophe modeler

KatRisk’s probabilistic multi-peril models are propelling this Cat modeler, largely known for their U.S. flood models, to the forefront of the flood modeling space. For more than four years, SpatialKey has worked with KatRisk to help underwriters and risk analysts gain a better understanding of flood risk. Our clients are finding that KatRisk’s overall score and flood depths by return period are helping underwriters understand both fluvial and pluvial flood risk like never before. In this interview, we talk with KatRisk co-founder, Dag Lohmann, who talks about the challenges of modeling U.S. flood risk, FEMA, and what’s next on the horizon for this innovative Cat modeler.

Q&A with Ambiental, global flood data provider

If you don’t know Ambiental, now’s a good time to get familiar with this global flood data provider that specializes in analyzing flood risk and modeling flood hazard. They’ve got a strong track record of increasing the precision of pricing and loss estimation for insurers and reinsurers. Now that their data has been integrated into SpatialKey, we thought it’s a good time to catch up with Evan Shallcross, Technical Manager at Ambiental, who had this to say about underwriting flood risk, progressive flood models, flood maps, and more. 

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