National flood modelling for insurance purposes: using IFSAR for flood risk estimation in Europe
Abstract. Flood risk poses a major problem for insurers and governments who ultimately pay the financial costs of losses resulting from flood events. Insurers therefore face the problem of how to assess their exposure to floods and how best to price the flood element of their insurance products. This paper looks at the insurance implications of recent flood events in Europe and the issues surrounding insurance of potential future events. In particular, the paper will focus on the flood risk information needs of insurers and how these can be met. The data requirements of national and regional flood models are addressed in the context of the accuracy of available data on property location. Terrain information is generally the weakest component of sophisticated flood models. Therefore, various sources of digital terrain models (DTM) are examined and discussed with consideration of the vertical and horizontal accuracy, the speed of acquisition, the costs and the comprehensiveness of the data. The NEXTMap DTM series from Intermap Technologies Inc. is proposed as a suitable DTM for flood risk identification and mapping, following its use in the UK. Its acquisition, processing and application is described and future plans discussed. Examples are included of the application of flood information to insurance property information and the potential benefits and advantages of using suitable hazard modelling data sources are detailed.