2010-19 has been the most expensive decade for natural hazards. With economic losses of $3trillion (up from $1.8trillion the previous decade), and insured losses of $840billion, climate change and flooding are not issues that are going away any time soon.
The announcement by The Bank of England (BofE) late last year set out how it will test the balance sheets of the largest UK lenders and insurers, pledging to scrutinise how they would cope with more frequent severe weather events such as floods and subsidence.
Following this announcement, on 11 February, Previsico hosted an event to help insurers understand how they can build resilience to floods and storms using new forecasting technologies. With much of the country still seeing the impacts of Storm Ciara, the event could not have come at a more pressing time. Resilience needs to (and can) be more effective as extreme weather events increase.
The speakers included world-leading authorities on flood risk resilience from the UK Cabinet office, IBM, Previsico, and Watchkeeper International. Attending were insurers, brokers, reinsurers, risk managers, business continuity specialists, Government and Geovation members, all keen to find out how they can benefit from greater flood resilience and meet what the BofE claims to be ‘the toughest climate stress test in the world’.
Luana Avagliano | Head of ResilienceDirect | Cabinet Office
Luana spoke about how the Cabinet Office’s ResilienceDirect platform enables multi-agencies to coordinate and plan ahead of events. This has been receiving Previsico’s live API following years of R&D with Loughborough University. This powerful new flood prediction tech provides agencies with the foresight to take mitigation actions. For example, live data can enable the Fire brigade to gain access to flooded areas
Mike Hope | Insurance Enterprise Unit CTO | IBM
Mike spoke about how IBM’s GRAF model is a game changer in weather forecasting generating up to 25bn predictions per day. Their global weather data, down to 500m across 2.2billion locations, draws data from 162 diverse sources, worldwide, from the Met Office to car windscreen wipers.
Users of these weather forecasts are diverse and range from Red Bull racing to insurers and transport agencies.
Dr Avi Baruch | COO | Previsico
Avi reflected on how surface water flooding is the biggest issue facing the UK with 3m properties at risk compared with 2.4m for river and coastal flooding. Yet, current 2nd generation flood forecasts are at a regional level, whereas Previsico’s 3rd generation solution nowcasts and forecasts live down to a property (25m) level.
Live local forecasts enable insurers to advise customers to implement flood action plans, including defending buildings and moving assets, such as vehicles, to higher ground. Previsico’s solution provides insurers with an early indication of total losses, reduces fraud, and improves claims efficiency. Storm Desmond cost insurers £1.3b, Previsico could have saved £130mil (10%)
Graham Brogden | Chair of DEFRA’s Resilience Round Table, former Aviva Head of Technical Claims and Advisory Consultant at Previsico
Graham Brogden outlined the DEFRA resilience round table’s newly launched Code of Practice for property level resilience. He reflected on the damming fact that 1 in 6 properties in the UK could be affected by flooding and that 40% of businesses never recover! The new code of practice will help homeowners better ensure that measures they put in place follow robust standards. The full code is available now at https://www.ciria.org/Research/Projects_underway2/Code_of_Practice_and_guidance_for_property_flood_resilience_.aspx
Hugh Farquhar | CEO | Watchkeeper International
Hugh explained how Watchkeeper International improve operational resilience with real time location intelligence from many sources, including IoT devices, forecasts and social media. WatchKeeper uses the latest geospatial technology in real-time, giving organisations and government agencies complete situational awareness and can ingest Previsico’s flood forecasting API.
After a series of enlightening presentations there was a lively panel discussion compered by Hamish Hall (Director with WSP). Hamish – who has been looking after a team of flood and coastal risk specialists at WSP asked searching questions and audience took the opportunity to quiz the leading panel of experts. It was agreed that to be truly resilient people and organisations need to be prepared for an event with the right defences, flood action plans, and warning systems. When asked if the latest technologies could help those in the audience, all hands were raised.
Before and after the presentations, there was networking over pizza and beers, kindly provided by event sponsors IBM. We are grateful to them and Geovation for helping to make this event happen.
If you are interested in finding out more, then do get in touch: [email protected]