Taking flood risk assessment to the next level

The economic cost of flood increases every year. Heightened by climate change, extreme weather events such as torrential rainfall and severe storms are making the situation worse. Events like Hurricane Harvey, where a large portion of flooded locations was outside a marked flood zone, show a gap between current flood zoning and the actual loss experience. When companies are not adequately protected against flood risks, they are far less able to bounce back and recover from a disaster. On the other hand, many companies have solid flood protection strategies in place and are resilient and prepared, suffering only minimal interruption to their operations after a flood event.

Swiss Re Corporate Solutions developed the flood risk assessment tool called "FLOAT", a cost-effective and highly accurate way to assess and manage a location's flood risk. FLOAT uses drones to capture location-specific elevation data. The collected data-set is transformed into a realistic visualization of the location, including a precise interactive simulation that shows potential vulnerabilities.

Current flood risk assessments are mostly based on data from satellites or aerial flights – a technique that produces two-dimensional maps. In many cases this is inadequate for an in-depth assessment of a location’s flood risk. FLOAT takes flood risk assessment to the next level and gives clients a more accurate way to identify low-points. Our simulation of the risk exposure can provide ±4 cm horizontal and better than ±10 cm vertical accuracy.

In combination with our longstanding NatCat expertise we offer an unrivalled risk assessment and help manage and mitigate our clients' risk to make their business operations more resilient.

Benefits of FLOAT at a glance

Cost efficiency

The solution comes as a cost-efficient method to assess flood risk.

High accuracy

We aim for a 4 cm x 4 cm grid and an elevation accuracy of better than +/- 10 cm. The available digital data-set can be used for precise simulations and allows a detailed identification of the location’s most vulnerable spots.

Data-driven technology

Our global servicing capabilities with parties such as Airbus Aerial enable us to create a customer-specific flood assessment. In addition, we partner with our clients to help them foster internal risk awareness and business justification for flood protection measures.

Compelling synergies

The combination with other Swiss Re Corporate Solutions services such as PULSE allows a holistic risk management approach. Where available, we overlay the digital data-set with historic information or predictable flood levels as well.

What is the delivered product?

The typical offering will include a drone flight to gather location-specific elevation data. Based on these data, an interactive simulation of the location's flood exposure is created as well as a presentation of the findings. If desired, we offer site visits as well as webinars or face-to-face presentations of the findings. In addition, detailed loss prevention recommendations, such as flood preparedness plans or mitigation activities, can be included in our flood risk assessment.

Who conducts the drone flights?

We have a global servicing agreement in place with Airbus Aerial. This covers liabilities, timelines and ensures compliance with flight approving authorities. Data processing and any resulting client interaction is done via the Swiss Re Corporate Solutions client service team, the client manager or similar units.

Wonder how you can use drones for your flood risk assessment?

Have a look at our video introduction to learn more about FLOAT: