Insurance industry given an insight into Ordnance Survey flood mapping

Insurance industry professoinals were given an insight into Ordnance Survey information mapping at a special event focusing on flood risk.

Directors, managers and specialist underwriters were among a 100-strong audience at a 'flooding question time' held by the national mapping agency and Insurance Times.

High on the agenda were the risks and challenges posed by the severe floods that affected large parts of England during the summer.

The potential for Ordnance Survey information to support both risk assessment and longer term catastrophe planning was highlighted by Ordnance Survey's director of customers and market development, James Brayshaw, a civil engineer and one of four expert panel members.

He said: "Geography is at the heart of risk assessment and modeling. We are doing a great deal of work at the sharp end of data collection so that insurers have access to the very best available information on which to base localised flood predictions and other peril models. Although there are inevitably different levels of take-up, the insurance industry in general has woken up to the power of geography in the past three or four years. We are seeing a shift in the use of information to build more accurate risk models."

Ordnance Survey has provided the topographic data for the creation of high-precision terrain models and structured digital river networks. Brayshaw said this should lead to both better flood response and planning for the future.

The event also looked at issues around data sharing, government information standards and the benefits to insurers of using intelligent databases. Other panel members included Swenja Surminski, policy adviser on climate change at the Association of British Insurers, and Alan Gairns, development manager for property underwriting at Royal & Sun Alliance.

After the question time Ordnance Survey displayed it’s national spatial address infrastructure, OS MasterMap Address Layer 2, which can help analyse flooding down to individual property and address level.