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FloodMapp sees loss prevention opportunity

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Innovative flood-mapping firm FloodMapp believes it can help reduce damage – and cut insurance premiums – by working with insurers on loss prevention during major flood events.

FloodMapp, which provides real-time modelling before, during and after floods, works with governments, utilities, mining and energy companies, and insurers.

It currently provides insurers with location-based data about which homes have been impacted by a flood event, to what depth, and for how long.

This is invaluable information enabling insurance companies to predict claims volumes quickly, and reducing the need for detailed investigations by hydrologists.

But the company is also keen to work with insurers on providing real-time warnings to customers as a flood event develops.

“Some insurers already do this with hail, and send out warnings to customers to move their cars under cover,” FloodMapp CEO and founder Juliette Murphy told insuranceNEWS.com.au.

“We see an opportunity to work with insurers to integrate a similar warning on flood.

“Nobody really wants to lose their car and make a claim. It’s better if you’re able to protect it by moving it to higher ground. Customers could also move possessions to the top level of their homes and turn off power.”

Ms Murphy says witnessing a friend’s property being “engulfed” during the Brisbane floods of 2011 was part of the inspiration for setting up FloodMapp.

“She had no idea she was in a risk zone and was going to be flooded. Warnings were given about the peak level of the Brisbane River, but that doesn’t help most people. They don’t generally have the level of knowledge needed to interpret that data.”

Ms Murphy says FloodMapp is also considering expanding into probabilistic modelling for land-use planning and underwriting purposes, and she believes the company could deliver more affordable and more regularly updated maps for councils and insurers to access.

She believes flooding will become an increasing problem as the climate changes, and backs the insurance industry’s call for greater investment in mitigation.

“But we still have this problem of houses built on floodplains that we need to manage,” she said.

“Premiums are becoming unaffordable in some areas and we would love to work with insurers to help reduce losses, which also presents an opportunity to address affordability.”

FloodMapp was formed in 2018, and the following year raised $1.3 million in seed funding, which was supplemented by an $800,000 government grant.

It is based in Brisbane, and has an office in San Francisco, with clients spread across Australia and the US. Earlier this year Ms Murphy won the mining category in the Australia and New Zealand Women in AI Awards.