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WaterLine offers location-specific risk analytics for flood

By Marc Treacy  |  October 24, 2018

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As growing numbers of U.S. homes and businesses become vulnerable to flooding, private insurers are seeing a potential new pathway for profitable growth—but they need underwriting tools to help them launch or refine programs to cover this risk.

Flood risk scored

WaterLine, developed by Verisk businesses ISO and AIR Worldwide, scores flood risk for all properties in the contiguous United States, based on advanced models of river, surface, and storm surge flooding.

The tool can help insurers underwrite commercial and personal properties, including those not traditionally considered flood-prone. For insurers that don’t offer flood insurance, WaterLine can help them provide customers with critical information about their level of flood risk.

This new solution arrives as flood damage to homes and businesses continues to mount across the United States, often with only a fraction of the affected properties insured against this peril. For example, when Hurricane Florence hit the Carolinas in September with winds, storm surge, and historic inland flooding, less than 340,000 of the 5 million homes in those states had flood insurance, based on U.S. government and AIR data.

Outdated flood maps

Many traditional regional flood maps have fallen out of date, and detailed risk information on flood exposure can be scarce. WaterLine provides the critical information property insurers need to assess flood risk confidently, scoring properties on a 0-to-100 relative risk scale and showing contributing factors. The tool uses advanced probabilistic simulations based on hydrologic and hydraulic engineering from AIR’s Inland Flood Model for the United States.

Through its various property/casualty insurance businesses, Verisk offers a wide-ranging suite of solutions to support flood insurance programs—including policy programs for personal and commercial lines—as well as individual risk assessment, portfolio analysis, and claims estimation.

Marc Treacy is managing director of flood insurance for ISO. You can contact him at

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