Brokers have been demanding it for years, and the industry has responded: the Insurance Bureau of Canada is calling for a national flood program, and as part of the initiative, launched a new set of flood maps that were developed in partnership with LexisNexis Risk Solutions, JBA Risk Management, DMTI Spatial and Brookfield RPS.
While the national flood program hopes to take a multipronged approach that includes repairing aging infrastructure, consumer education and enhanced research efforts, the association considers the nationwide flood maps to be the “backbone to good policy.”
As the only G8 country without residential flood cover, updating river and surface water flood maps was both a mandate and a necessity.
“The state of mapping in Canada prior to this was scattered – it wasn’t organized and it was old and long outdated,” said Rob Sale, account director, Canada Insurance, LexisNexis Risk Solutions. “They weren’t sufficient to help us understand and assess flood risks.”
It wasn’t easy. The company, alongside the IBC and other vendor partners, spent years capturing sensor data to create a 3d model of the country, assessing the strength of river flows, modeling snow melt runoff, entering algorithms into a super computer and engaging in big data analysis to turn that information into a workable resource.
The end result encompasses MapView, a technology that will allow industry players to leverage analytics and reporting to gain a thorough understanding of property-level exposures.
“This will allow the industry to answer key questions that we couldn’t before because we didn’t have an understanding of how many properties are at risk, what kind of exposures they have and what kind of losses they’re looking at,” said Bill McCarthy, managing director, UK, Ireland and Canada Insurance, LeixsNexis Risk Solutions.
The organizations also studied effective mitigation structures and developed an annual damage ratio that allows insurers to understand the costs of economic loss at various geographic levels.
Although they can’t speak on behalf of insurance providers, the researchers foresee that they carriers capitalize upon these resources to launch more comprehensive flood products for consumers.
“Since the IBC helped to drive this program, its various constituents – the insurers themselves – were made aware of it and helped to design it,” McCarthy said. “We're sure that these tools will precipitate product innovation in the marketplace.”