How new tech is being used to warn of flood danger
15 June 2020
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.”
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