Data analytics firm Verisk is touting the launch of WaterLine, an underwriting tool that scores flood risk for all properties in the contiguous United States, helping identify homes and businesses vulnerable to flood.
The product scores properties on a 0-to-100 relative risk scale and shows the factors contributing to the score.
WaterLine, developed by Verisk’s information business ISO and risk modeler AIR Worldwide, is based on advanced models of river, surface and storm surge flooding. The tool can help insurers — and even the National Flood Insurance Program should it buy a license— underwrite any property, including those not traditionally considered flood-prone.
“For decades, outdated regional flood maps and a lack of detailed risk information have discouraged many property insurers from taking on flood exposure,” said Marc Treacy, managing director of flood at ISO. “As numerous storms over the past few years show, flood is a hazard that homeowners and businesses can no longer ignore. WaterLine provides the critical information property insurers need to assess flood risk confidently.”
Treacy said WaterLine can help insurers expand into the emerging flood insurance market with both personal and commercial underwriting information. WaterLine can also help private insurers that don’t offer flood insurance serve their customers better by providing them with information about their level of flood risk.
WaterLine comes to market just months after floods damaged homes and disrupted communities across the United States: from Dane County, Wisconsin, where emergency officials reported that just two percent of residential and business damage was insured against recent flooding, to Ellicott City, Maryland, which endured its second 1,000-year rain event in two years, according to the National Weather Service.
When Hurricane Florence hit the Carolinas last month with winds, storm surge, and historic inland flooding, less than 340,000 out of the 5 million homes in those states had flood insurance, based on U.S. government and AIR data.
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