How adapting our FloodScore™ product has helped one of the world’s largest insurance groups deal with the complex challenges of flood risk.

The Challenge

Zurich is one of the world’s largest insurance groups. It employs approximately 55,000 people in offices in over 170 countries. The group offers products ranging from personal lines cover to bespoke solutions for businesses of all sizes.

Recognising how crucial it is to have the latest data for effective management of portfolio level risk and implementation of flood underwriting strategies, Zurich were looking for regularly updated data which reflected the current threats and opportunities of insuring UK properties at risk of flooding. It was also very important that this data was available to different users across the organisation and not just the underwriting teams.

Our Solution

To find a suitable solution Zurich spent a lengthy time period thoroughly evaluating the data for a range of flood models on the market. After some time of scrutinising their flood data options, Zurich found Ambiental data to be the most sensitive in predicting flood risk. They also found the FloodScore database and data layers innovative and its data easy to digest.

The FloodScore database, tailored to meet Zurich’s requirements, was deployed through a system provided by one of Ambiental’s platform partners, LexisNexis. This system provides Zurich with property-level flood risk information for all properties within the UK and Northern Ireland and is linked to OS AddressBase. Using a UPRN (unique property reference number), rather than a postal code, their underwriting teams can quickly see the average annual loss (AAL) of a prospective property and the likelihood it will be flooded by water from fluvial, pluvial or tidal sources. The risk is presented as an aggregated score from 1-100, with the option to view the score of each individual flood type.

We also worked closely with LexisNexis to create bespoke spatial layers that enable Zurich to visualise flood risk data. These layers are part of a bespoke data system, which makes Zurich’s data accessible to all relevant departments – from underwriters and actuaries to risk analysts and senior management.

The Outcomes

The unique approach to exposure modelling provided by FloodScore is helping Zurich to more accurately estimate flood risk for a specific building and occupancy types, speeding up the initial assessment, reducing risk rating uncertainties, and creating more time for accurate underwriting of flood risk which will help reduce losses and identify new opportunities.

Having a single combined flood risk score that takes into account pluvial, fluvial and tidal flooding has proven to be very powerful. This has enabled underwriters to make decisions about new opportunities far more quickly, by providing a visualised overview of the site, along with supporting flood risk information.

As FloodScore is updated regularly, Zurich is confident they are using the most current data available. Through our high levels of customer support, we have also guided Zurich through the data implementation stage and wider understanding of flood risk classification.

2007 saw Britain’s wettest May-July since records began in 1776.

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