Surface flood water makes up nearly 60% of UK flood risk, but is not currently covered by Environment Agency warnings

Zurich Municipal and flood forecasting insurtech Previsico have today (22 June 2022) announced a partnership extension to bolster flood resilience across the UK’s public sector.

The deal is set to provide Zurich Municipal’s public sector customers with a free warning system for surface flood water for at risk insured properties, as well as a new district flood warning service for roads and parks.

Zurich and Previsico originally announced a partnership to provide flood forecasting for one of the insurer’s large corporate customers in March last year (30 March 2021), with the new deal expanding the service to Zurich municipal. Zurich will fund the service.

Jonathan Jackson, Previsico’s chief executive, said: “This extension to our partnership follows the success of our work with Zurich in the private sector with firms such as BT.

“It will enable Zurich to provide warnings down to individual property level (25m) up to 48-hours in advance for insured properties – a first for the public sector – as well as giving local government support with warnings for roads and parks. It also delivers against Zurich’s ESG strategy.”

The partnership comes as flood risk in the UK is increasing – according to the UK Climate Change Risk Assessment Technical Report – which said that annual flood damage could increase by 27% by 2050 in a scenario where global warming was not kept below 2°C by 2100.

Growing risk

Surface water flooding makes up almost 60% of UK flood risk, but Environment Agency warnings only currently cover the other 40% of risk emanating from major rivers and the sea.

Previsico’s solution uses a combination of rainfall nowcasts and forecasts to deliver these warnings. It will offer 48 hour forecasts every three hours at specific district level.

As soon as the system identifies a location is at risk of surface water flooding, this is sent to a relevant contact.

Andrew Jepp, Zurich Municipal’s managing director, said: Surface water flooding is a growing risk which we know causes major disruption to our customers and the services they provide. At Zurich Municipal we are continually looking at ways we can support our customers understand and reduce the risks they face.

“Our new partnership with Previsico will help our customers to take targeted action to build resilience in their communities.”

Zurich Municipal also works closely with Zurich Resilience Solutions, which helps companies and the public sector manage risk via flood risk analysis and advice on resilience measures.