Property-level flood information

How can homeowners and small businesses persuade insurers to consider all the relevant facts about their flood risk and history?

Does fewer police really mean more crime?

Forces in England and Wales plan a 10% reduction in officers but the impacts are uncertain.

Extreme weather events and corporate responsibility

What is the risk that companies operating in high-carbon industries might in future be held liability for the costs of extreme weather events?

UK tsunami risk

An overview of the evidence.

Theft of non-ferrous metals

The market price of copper presents an economic threat to UK infrastructure.

11 Jul 2012

Areas for improvement in available flood data for England and Wales (Adaptation Sub-Committee report)

This morning the Adaptation Sub-Committee of the Committee on Climate Change, an expert body that advises on the UK Government's programme for adaptation to climate change, published a report to Parliament on the state of preparedness in England and Wales for two of the largest climate risks, flooding and water scarcity (or drought).

27 Jan 2012

The ABI's Bold New Paradigm for Flood Insurance: A "Free Market With a Support Model Financed Through General Taxation"

So yesterday Otto Thoresen, the new Director General of the Association of British Insurers (ABI), gave a speech at the Insurance Institute of London in which he set out five key priorities for UK insurers in 2012.

First on the list was flooding, "the biggest catastrophic risk facing the UK".

24 Jan 2012

Reservoir Inundation Maps: National Security vs Public Information

Yesterday the British Dam Society held an evening meeting on Reservoir Risk Classification. The BDS is a member organisation mainly for engineers who inspect or work on dams and reservoirs, but to their great credit they stream their meetings online and provide open access to non-members.

4 Jan 2012

Free our (flood) data

Summary:  Recent open data initiatives in the UK have focused on the four largest Government trading funds that manage the nation's 'information infrastructure'. However in this article I make an argument for releasing the Environment Agency's flood data assets as open data, in order to support wider re-use of flood information in the insurance industry as well as better public understanding of flood risk and flood protection.

29 Aug 2011

Property-level flood information and availability of insurance in the UK

An estimated 2.3 million homes and 185,000 businesses in England and Wales are at risk of flooding, according to widely cited figures from the Environment Agency.  There is no particular reason to doubt this estimate, and with current trends in climate change and urban development we can probably expect the number of properties at risk to grow.

When it comes to the availability of flood insurance however, the problem is how to agree not just the likelihood of flooding but also the financial severity of potential flood damage to individual properties.  Insurers know that all geographic modelling of flood risk is to some extent generalised, and that in practice many properties in areas of flood risk will have particular characteristics that make them less or more susceptible to damage.

25 Jul 2011

Does fewer police really mean more crime?

With a savings target of about £1.6bn, police managers are planning a 10% reduction in the number of officers in England and Wales by 2015.  Last week Her Majesty's Inspectorate of Constabulary (HMIC) released the first reliable estimate of the effect on individual police forces, along with a research paper (PDF) suggesting tentatively that this reduction could lead to an increase in property crime of around 3%.

4 Jul 2011

UK tsunami risk: an overview of the evidence

Last week an unusual tidal occurrence along the coastline of Cornwall, Devon, Dorset and Hampshire prompted interest and discussion in the media.  Tidal gauges from Cornwall to Hampshire recorded a 2ft-high column of water moving from west to east, and some witnesses reported a strong static charge in the air.  In the Yealm estuary near Plymouth water surged at four times the normal speed, as shown in the video below.