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How new tech is being used to warn of flood danger

 

Previsico ​FloodMap Live ​technology can ​give risk ​predictions ​right down to ​street level ​

Previsico can ​help insurers ​warn people of ​danger ​

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The winner of the 2020 LeicestershireLive​ ​Innovation ​Awards has ​picked up a ​£700,000 ​boost to target ​the US market ​with its live ​flood ​forecasting ​technology. ​

Loughborough ​University spin-​out ​Previsico ​has secured the ​loan from ​Innovate UK and ​has plans to ​seek out ​further ​investment in ​2021. ​

The business won LeicestershireLive​’​s overall ​innovation of ​the year ​award earlier ​in 2020 after ​the judges saw ​the important ​role it could ​have in the ​lives of people,​ homeowners and ​business owners ​threatened by ​flooding. ​

Its FloodMap ​Live technology ​can give risk ​predictions ​right down to ​street level, ​and has been ​praised by ​local ​authorities, ​insurance ​companies and ​even humanitarian ​organisations. ​

Its tech can ​offer insurers ​the ability to ​alert customers ​of immediate ​risks to their ​properties, so ​they can move ​valuables to ​higher ground ​and set up ​temporary flood ​defences in the ​case of an ​imminent flood ​– ​potentially a ​win-win for ​insurers and ​their customers.​

It can also ​provide ​insurers with ​an accessibility ​map in the case ​of flooding, so ​that claims ​teams more ​accurately ​understand ​where it has ​occurred, to ​reach affected ​properties and ​protect ​vulnerable ​customers. ​

This will not ​only lead to a ​better service ​and happier ​customers, it ​will also ​enable an ​earlier ​indication of ​total losses, ​reduce fraud, ​and improve ​claims ​efficiency. ​

Underpinned ​by 20 years of ​academic ​research across ​50 cities ​worldwide, the ​business has ​been backed by ​the Cabinet ​Office, Met ​Office, and ​Environment ​Agency who have ​conducted ​pilots in ​London, ​Manchester, ​Birmingham, ​Leicester and ​Loughborough. ​

Previsico has ​been on a fast-​track since ​launch in ​November 2019, ​already ​supporting ​insurers, ​brokers, and ​customers with ​‘live ​actionable ​flood ​warnings’,​ including ​uniquely for ​surface water ​flooding. ​

The ‘​Hot 100’ ​Insurtech ​company is ​headquartered ​in the ​university’​s incubator, LU ​Inc, on ​the ​Loughborough ​University ​Science and ​Enterprise ​Park, where it ​employs a ​growing team ​with strong ​business acumen ​and research ​expertise. ​

The Innovate ​UK loan will ​support: ​

– ​accelerated ​product ​development to ​improve ​Previsico’​s accuracy and ​speed; ​

– more ​proof of ​concept trials ​with insurers; ​

– ​collaboration ​with the ​Lloyd’s ​Lab to deliver ​value-added ​services in ​underwriting, ​loss mitigation,​ and claims; ​

– and ​continued ​expansion, ​including in ​the US, where ​there is an ​urgent need for ​surface water ​flood modelling ​

Chief ​executive ​Jonathan ​Jackson said: ​“The ​increasing ​catastrophic ​risk of ​flooding, ​including ​surface water ​flooding in the ​US, and ​worldwide, make ​this development ​very timely. ​

“We ​have big plans ​at Previsico, ​including our ​Series A round ​in 2021. ​

“The ​Innovate loan ​is a great ​facility to ​enable us, as ​an early-stage ​spinout, to ​accelerate our ​product ​development and ​growth, ​including in ​the US as a key ​target market ​for 2020.”​

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Utilising the ​latest ​geospatial ​technology for ​weather ​predictions, ​Previsico, in ​partnership ​with IBM, can ​fill a gap in ​the flood ​forecasting ​market with ​products. ​

It is hoped ​its surface ​water flood ​modelling will ​be a big player ​in the US ​market. ​

Loughborough ​University Pro-​Vice Chancellor ​for Enterprise ​Professor Tracy ​Bhamra said: ​“With ​Innovate ​UK’s ​support, ​Previsico will ​continue to ​build ​capability and ​accelerate ​adoption of its ​unique surface ​water flood ​forecasting ​technology for ​maximum ​societal and ​economic impact,​ as well as ​generating ​skilled ​employment to ​boost the ​regional ​economy.” ​

Tom PegdenLeicester ​Mercury ​business editor ​

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