CoreLogic Analytical Tool Helps Insurers Identify and Mitigate Flash Flood Risk

The solution provides the property and casualty and commercial insurance industries with comprehensive, real-time, property-specific flash flood risk data, reducing their dependence on interpretation by underwriters and agents.

Information and data services provider CoreLogic has launched CoreLogic Flash Flood Risk Score, a new data analytics tool designed to inform insurers of the overall projection of flash flood risk beyond established Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA) floodplains.

CoreLogic’s new offering fits within a trend of data providers to the P&C industry innovating in the direction of more precise and specific solutions, suggests Mark Breading, a partner with Boston-based research and advisory firm SMA.“We can expect to see more scores for specific perils to enable more granular risk analysis,” he comments. I expect CoreLogic and others to continue to leverage their data and expertise to provide more scores to assist underwriters.”

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Mark Breading, SMA.

Mark Breading, SMA.

CoreLogic’s new offering uses a combination of hydrology, meteorological and environmental datasets to provide both a numeric risk score (1-100) and a categorical risk rating (ranging from Very Low to Extreme) that enables underwriters to set guidelines for flash flood risk and evaluate portfolio risk exposure, according to CoreLogic. Flash Flood Risk Score uses proprietary data layers to identify risk associated with intense rainfall, soil types, ground elevation and flow accumulations.

Flash flooding is defined a short-term event occurring within six hours of a causative event such as heavy rain, dam break, levee failure or rapid snowmelt and often occurs within two hours of the start of high-intensity rainfall. Flash flooding accounts for 33 percent of inland flood property damages in the United States, totaling $7.9 billion between 2005-2012, according to the National Weather Service and the National Climatic Data Center.

“Identifying flash flood risk is a huge issue for our clients, and understanding this risk can be particularly daunting, especially because a significant amount of the country is not covered when it comes to flood risk assessment,” comments Howard Botts, PhD, vice president and director of database development, CoreLogic Spatial Solutions. “In fact, roughly 40 percent of the U.S. is not included in FEMA flood maps, and because a flash flood can happen so fast, there is often little time to prepare or mitigate against this type of event, resulting in extensive property damage. The Flash Flood Risk Score from CoreLogic will allow insurers to be able to identify and mitigate flash flood risk in areas that are not mapped for flood risk of any type.”

CoreLogic argues that the availability of a highly predictive flash flood analytic solution provides the property and casualty and commercial insurance industries with comprehensive, real-time, property-specific flash flood risk data and cuts down on the degree of interpretation required by underwriters and agents.

“Insurers may not even realize that they are covering losses that could be better understood with the right model,” Botts adds. “Now they have access to new insight to help them better understand flash flood risk for a single property or an entire portfolio.”



Anthony R. O’Donnell // Anthony O'Donnell is Executive Editor of Insurance Innovation Reporter. For nearly two decades, he has been an observer and commentator on the use of information technology in the insurance industry, following industry trends and writing about the use of IT across all sectors of the insurance industry. He can be reached at or (503) 936-2803.

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