Protect your business against flood risk with our Global Flood Map
Predicting how the weather will behave over the coming days, weeks and months is a complex task, according to the UK’s Met Office. Nature rarely works to a plan or schedule. However, the Met office says that December 2017 is “likely” to be the coldest in years, due to some blasts from the Arctic. While this winter may be remembered for its cool temperatures, last winter was one for dusting off the umbrellas – with the arrival of Storms Angus, Barbara, Conor and notorious Doris.
The UK government’s predictions of what the future holds in England are pretty bleak too: it estimates approximately 5.4 million properties are at risk of flooding from rivers and the sea or surface water – or both. In other words, it believes a staggering amount of homes and commercial properties are under threat.
And that’s not surprising, given that climate change, globalisation and urbanisation are all buzzwords of our age – and are believed to be the driving forces behind floods and their devastating consequences. In the last ‘National Flood Resilience Review’ the government itself says, ‘our next task is to make sure we improve how we let people know where they could be at risk and encourage them to take action.’
Up to 2021, the UK government will spend £2.3 billion on strengthening the country’s flood and coastal defences, better protecting 300,000 homes. But what about businesses, in particular those with operations or customers abroad? Flooding can be more than a nuisance that damages property. For organisations with global supply chains, flood damage can affect vast swathes of the business (such as loss of machinery or valuable customer data). Essentially, the ability of an entire organisation to operate may be put in jeopardy.
And yet, across the world, local and regional flood maps are inconsistent or unavailable. What’s more, relatively little is known about the potential flood exposures that exist from country to country. And so, now more than ever, accurate flood zone information is critical when analysing risk for businesses. As resilient businesses expand globally, they need a trusted resource that can help identify potential flood exposures on every continent.
And that’s why FM Global – who helps large commercial and industrial property clients manage risk and resilience – has decided to take matters into its own hands. It’s created a pioneering Global Flood Map that identifies areas exposed to moderate to high-hazard flooding.
Adriano Lanzilotto, Vice President of Client Service at FM Global, says the global nature of business supply chains means the Global Flood Map is a very powerful tool for businesses:
“Our clients are building very complex supply chains, often building new sites with key customers in emerging markets. Therefore, the ability to improve their resilience to natural catastrophe events is key to maintaining production and market share.”
Of course, there are many flood maps out there. But this one has drawn on data from more than 10 external scientific, academic and governmental organisations across the world, leading to powerful insights into flood exposure. It is also derived from a physical model that recreates what actually happens when rain falls or snow melts, by taking into account important factors such as soil infiltration, water runoff and evaporation. It’s then calibrated against known river flows for accuracy. And while this may sound complicated, this level of detail will let you know in an instant if your business sits in a danger zone.
The new map not only makes decisions about commercial site locations much easier, it’s also simple for executives and risk managers to use. No longer do they need to grapple with different maps from many different countries, all with different methodologies and data.
“We’ve mapped the vast majority of the planet’s land mass, including previously uncharted territories in Africa, Asia, Europe and South America. We have looked at how rain falls, how it evaporates, how snow melts and how water sits once all that happens. This allows businesses and risk managers to make a decision on where they may want to put a plant even before they do any in-depth research or spend loads of money looking into these things. It’s a great tool for a first port of call to see what may be happening in the world.” says Parag Patel, Business Development Executive at FM Global.
So how does it work? If you type in your commercial address anywhere in the world, the Global Flood Map will reveal your risk exposure. For example, Richmond in London instantly comes back with the area highlighted as a high hazard zone. That means that it would be complacent for that business not to take action and protect itself against potential flood damage – both in terms of insurance, and also risk assessment ahead of time. But let’s say those headquarters in London depend on a textile manufacturer in Chennai in Tamil Nadu in India, this is where the map becomes even more empowering, as it gives you the ability to check whether your suppliers or back-up suppliers are in a danger zone meaning you can plan ahead accordingly and safeguard your business on a global scale.
The Global Flood Map should be the first, important step in protecting your business against one of the most costly natural hazards in the world. If you are at high risk, FM Global can then help you with: an emergency checklist of actions to take for when a flood is imminent; education on what to do after flooding has happened; and safeguarding your facilities with a detailed Flood Emergency Response Plan – an invaluable guide to preventing or minimising water damage at your commercial properties.
Flood loss is both predictable and preventable. If businesses understand their exposure, they can protect a site with simple steps. Resilience in times of crisis can allow organisations to thrive, and it’s those that think ahead that become global market leaders.