FloodFlash and JBA: a parametric partnership going from strength to strength

Henry Bellwood and Nikki Pilgrim share their secrets to a model partnership

The fantastic team at JBA and their best-in-class modelling data has been a key part of the FloodFlash story. FloodFlash and JBA have been partners since the very early days of the 2018 pilot. And as we look towards a fourth year together, the bond is only growing stronger. We caught up with JBA Technical Director Nikki Pilgrim and FloodFlash Catastrophe Risk Analyst Henry Bellwood to find out what makes a great team tick.

FloodFlash: JBA and FloodFlash have been working together going on 4 years. How did that collaboration first come about?

Nikki Pilgrim: From a JBA perspective our collaboration with FloodFlash always made perfect sense. We are flood science experts with detailed flood data and global experience in risk analytics. Almost 90% of UK insurers use JBA flood data for their flood risk assessment and pricing. But more than that, JBA is a collaborative team of innovative flood risk scientists.

It was clear from the beginning that Adam and Ian had an innovative approach to parametric insurance

JBA’s Nikki Pilgrim on the attraction of working with floodflash

We are always open to exploring new approaches and finding new ways of solving old problems. It was clear from the beginning that [FloodFlash founders] Adam and Ian had an innovative approach to parametric insurance. We were really excited to be a part of it.

Henry Bellwood: Without their support it would have been far more difficult to get our product off the ground. JBA have an outstanding reputation for producing great flood models used across the entire insurance industry. What really made it work in the beginning were a few key factors.

Firstly, FloodFlash have an ethos of automated, technically priced, mass market, insurance for everyone. In order to produce fair, competitive pricing algorithms, we need to understand flood risk at the most granular resolution possible. JBA’s 5m model for the UK was the obvious choice.

Secondly, parametric cover, and FloodFlash specifically is grounded in the idea of simple, transparent insurance. JBA are forthright about their research and modelling process and they provide a great level of transparency with their products. This is important when growing a new catastrophe product and goes beyond the black-box standard of other model providers.

FF: Were there any big challenges that had to be overcome initially?

HB: The majority of productised catastrophe models on the market are created with indemnity insurance in mind. They don’t split out the individual components needed to calculate the risk for a parametric policy. So, at first it was difficult because we didn’t have the components required to fit the blueprints we had in mind. JBA were key partners in breaking down the data that helped us build a brand-new type of mass market flood insurance.

NP: I would absolutely agree. The biggest challenge was that parametric insurance was really in its infancy. We had confidence in our flood data and how relevant it would be. Our models and flood maps are science-based and peer-reviewed, and we have a proven track record. The real trick was to make the science usable for FloodFlash and the parametric market so that they could prove their value to the sector in which they were working.

FF: Can you share any interesting milestones/proud achievements?

HB: We’re hugely proud to have secured capacity from Lloyd’s syndicates from day one – largely due to the confidence in our models.Our partnership with JBA has played a key part in our credibility, particularly in the early years. Underwriting success is only half the story when it comes to any insurance product though. From a client’s perspective the proof is in the claim. Our best moment has to have been paying our first set of claims within 48 hours after storm Ciara in 2020. The testimonials were incredible, showing that all the hard work in creating this new type of insurance was changing the way businesses recover.

FloodFlash customers react to receiving their claims in hours after Storm Ciara in 2020.

NP: JBA prides itself on being at the forefront of innovative technology and seeing FloodFlash grow from strength to strength has been very rewarding. The impact it has had on the preconceived notion that flood insurance claims take months to process is a credit to the FloodFlash team and the industry. As shown by the customer reactions.

Where do you go from here?

HB: It’s no secret FloodFlash have ambitions beyond the UK. Of natural catastrophes, flood affects the most people worldwide and contributes the most to the insurance protection gap – $58bn every year. We plan to reach as many of these people as possible, and our partnership with JBA will be key in doing this on a global scale. JBA have global coverage in their models, so this is just the beginning of our partnership as far as we are concerned.

To find out more about more about our award-winning parametric flood insurance visit our homepage. For more on JBA, visit their website.

Data used in creation of the cover image provided by JBA