Homebuyers and other stakeholders in the United Kingdom will have more accurate information about the likelihood of getting insurance, thanks to flood mapping data being made publicly available by Risk Management Solutions (RMS), a catastrophe risk management technology provider based in California.

A partnership between RMS and UK-based Landmark Information Group, a provider of environmental risk reports to the property industry, will now incorporate the latest RMS flood mapping data it into its analysis for homebuyers and solicitors. The Environment Agency flood maps only cover England and Wales, while the RMS maps also cover Scotland.

The UK Flood Risk Assessment maps cover all sources of flood risk, including surface water and minor river flooding, which is believed to have caused around 50% of the damage from the 2007 summer floods.

Until now, the UK reports have included data solely from the Government’s Environment Agency, which is currently only responsible for major river flood risk.

According to the Environment Agency maps, less than 10% of England and Wales is at risk of flooding, while RMS estimates this figure to be almost 30%—the majority of this additional risk being from excessive rainfall and minor rivers overflowing. In an analysis of property exposures, RMS estimates that 1 in 4 British homes are at flood risk.*

All figures are based on the risk of flooding from a one-in-1,000 year event.

The reports will include an assessment of the risk of a property flooding from an event that happens, on average, once every 75 years, compared to once in every 100 years using Environment Agency data. This means homebuyers will know before they buy a property whether or not they will get buildings insurance—and even a mortgage—since the Association of British Insurers (ABI) made an agreement that insurers will provide coverage for properties protected up to this 75-year return period level.

*The calculation of one-in-four British homes at flood risk is based on the number of residential homes within the 2008 RMS 1,000-year Inland Flood risk zones compared to the total number of homes in Britain. The flood risk map identifies areas at risk from all sources of precipitation-driven flooding including flooding from major and minor rivers and surface water flow. The 1,000-year flood risk map identifies areas that would be at risk under very extreme rainfall and flooding.

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