It was interesting to see that there seems to be renewed interest in pooling information on flood risks (15 April, Insurance Times).

The issue is not just limited to flood mapping, there is also the question of the cost of flood claims. The national flood insurance claims database contains pooled flood claims data from the top 25 insurers for thousands of flood claims, from 1993 to 1998.

Analyses of the data from this database are published as tables by the University of Dundee, (the Dundee Tables). The university is also the home of the British Hydrological Society database on flood events.

The Dundee Tables contain a wealth of information useful to underwriters, loss adjusters, and reinsurers, and are being widely used in Scotland to calculate cost benefit appraisals for claiming grants for new flood defences.

Perhaps the first thing the industry should do is to renew the modest sponsorship needed to maintain this database.

More information is contained in the recent Benfield Hazard Research Centre Research report on flooding, available free from

Claims data collection for flood and storm would be much easier if the industry were to agree common standards.

A system designed to speed up claims handling and help to identify fraudulent claims as well as capture data was strongly supported in the CII book on climate change, and is described in detail in the Benfield report mentioned above.

David Crichton
Middlesex University Flood Hazard Research Centre