Chris Chambers of Ordnance Survey at Ambiental’s Flood Re Business Breakfast for Insurers and Reinsurers
A barrage of storms hitting the UK in late 2015 has left thousands across Northern England reeling, with hundreds of millions of pounds worth of damage being caused to buildings and infrastructure.
In November, high rainfall from hurricane Kate followed hot on the heels of storm Abigail, swelling rivers, to a bank-full state. The arrival of storm Desmond less than two weeks later caused many to overtop, flooding more than 3,500 homes across Cumbria, and leaving tens of thousands across the border in Lancashire without power. Then, on Christmas Eve, storm Eva relentlessly deposited more than 120mm of rain onto the already saturated ground, resulting in the issue of almost 150 severe flood warnings throughout Northern England and into Scotland, Ireland and Wales. So serious was the threat of the storm that Prime Minister David Cameron chaired an emergency COBRA crisis meeting, and pledged military help to combat the unprecedented threat to homes across the UK.
With the increase in global temperatures bringing a warmer, wetter climate, the chances of flash flood events across the UK are only set to rise in the coming years. And so it is with great anticipation that the government regulated reinsurance scheme ‘Flood Re’ will launch later this year. The not-for-profit company, set up by the Association of British Insurers, will provide a pool of money available to insure homeowners who have been ceded by their insurance companies on the grounds of unacceptable flood risk. By ceding properties to Flood Re, insurers can protect themselves against heavy losses in the event of a flood, however stand to lose out on the premiums in the event that the property does not flood. For the insurance industry, deciding whether or not to cede a property to Flood Re can therefore be a minefield in its own right.
Speaking at Ambiental’s breakfast event last month, Chris Chambers, Senior Product Manager for Ordnance Survey, offered a solution to the gathered insurers. Since 1971, OS has been mapping Great Britain in its entirety, revealing the ever-changing landscape in extraordinary detail, and giving the most comprehensive view of Britain available. Their products help organisations across the country save time, money, and even lives, as well as aid in improving services, and making key business decisions. With 10,000 mapping updates available every day, the services of Ordnance Survey help generate £400 million in new revenue every year, and collect enough data to underpin £100 billion of the British economy.