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FloodFlash sensor: everything you need to know about our award-winning tech

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The FloodFlash sensor is the beating heart of every policy. Whilst telematics might be all the rage in car insurance, using a sensor for commercial flood insurance is pretty new. This blog gives a full rundown on what you need to know about the FloodFlash sensor. Got any further questions or tips? Get in touch.

What is the FloodFlash sensor?

Every FloodFlash sensor measures just over 1.5m in length and is custom built to support our rapid-payout insurance. It monitors flooding at a property of the clients choosing. As soon as the sensor detects flooding it sends data to FloodFlash HQ telling us to keep an eye on events at the property. When the flooding reaches the client’s selected trigger depth, we start the claim.

The data from the sensor is what helps us validate claims so quickly. We paid our fastest claim to date in January 2021. It took just 9 hours and 44 minutes to pay the claim in full. The sensor triggered at 7.16 in the morning and the full payout was in the client’s account by 5PM the same day.

“Without question the best insurance claim experience I’ve ever had by some distance.”

James Waite – A FloodFlash Client Who SAW the sensor in Action IN JANUARY

It also means that we can pay claims without any visits or contact with the property owner/manager. The result is claims that are fast whilst reducing COVID exposure.

How does the FloodFlash sensor work?

The sensor is a smart piece of technology that borrows from various different innovations from the last few years. The key features are as follows:

  • High-accuracy flood measurement: the sensor takes depth readings accurate to 1mm. It works a bit like car parking sensors – bouncing sound down the tube and measuring the time it takes to get back to the top. The shorter the time it takes to bounce back, the more water in the sensor
  • Mobile connectivity: the sensor sends the depth readings back to FloodFlash HQ via the mobile networks. The sensor uses all mobile networks for maximum coverage with low data usage.
  • 10-year life: ultra-low power consumption and battery efficiency mean that the sensor doesn’t require any external power. It lasts up to 10-years, at which point we will swap it out for a new one.
  • Fraud resistant: live data monitoring feeds into a robust fraud prevention process. We manage this both in the sensor itself and through the data checks we carry out at HQ.
  • Storm proof: the sensor is tested in storm and flood conditions to make sure it is up to the task of protecting any property from catastrophic flooding.
  • Memory chip: if the networks go down, the sensor doesn’t stop recording. It stores all readings on a memory chip. When the networks recover, the sensor sends all the historical data through so we don’t miss a single reading.
A FloodFlash sensor outside the Blue Teapot in Hebden Bridge. The data from this sensor helped validate a claim that kickstarted the cafe’s recovery during Storm Ciara in 2019.

Where can you place the FloodFlash sensor?

When placing your sensor, you have to follow certain rules (for example, you can’t place it down a drain or on a wall that touches water), but otherwise it is up to you. We have a guide on where you can place your sensor here – if you’re considering where to place your sensor this is the best place to go.

The article linked above covers the basic principles as well as more detailed advice on choosing which wall of a building is best depending on your risk and what you’re trying to protect. One thing that is more helpful to consider: sensor placement dictates when you would be paid in a claim scenario.

Placing the sensor next to entrances is one way to visualise trigger depths easily.

How to choose a trigger depth based on sensor placement

It’s important to point out that flood depth is measured from the ground height where the sensor is placed. If a building is on a slope, measuring from one side of the building might lead to a different trigger depth compared to the other side. In that sense, choosing where you place the sensor is hugely important to a policy. The slide show below goes through a couple of examples to explain this in more detail.

Who installs the FloodFlash sensor?

FloodFlash has a network of trained engineers across the country that initialise and install the sensor. All you need to do it clear the installation space beforehand. If you can’t be there on the day of the installation, no problem. Just provide us with written (and ideally image) instruction and the engineer will get it done provided there is access to the site. We provide clear instructions on the installation when you buy a policy.

How much does the sensor cost?

The sensor costs £100+VAT which is an annual rental charge. This covers the data charges as well as repair and replacement of the sensor should anything happen to it. The cost is included in quote documents as a separate line. That way you can see what you’re spending on the premium vs. the sensor as well as claiming on the VAT if needed.

FloodFlash sensor on the side of a building
A FloodFlash sensor just having been installed.

What happens if the FloodFlash sensor breaks?

The good news is that this hasn’t happened yet. The only time we’ve needed to replace a faulty sensor was when a cow knocked one off a barn. That said, we have made precautions and done rigorous testing to make sure the sensor is up to the task.

Every sensor is storm and tamper proof. Sensor data tells us if the sensor has moved or if it has stopped transmitting data. When that happens we’ll be in touch to investigate, and if needed visit the property to repair or replace the sensor. Provided it meets our standards for sensor replacement, this is included in the annual sensor fee.

The sensor is also installed with a memory chip. If mobile service drops during a storm then the memory chip stores the data from the sensor readings. When mobile service is restored, the sensor sends the data to us automatically so we can check on any historical readings.

If the sensor fails completely (something that hasn’t happened to date) then we can use other means to judge whether a flood would have triggered the policy. A full list of those methods can be found in our policy documents. Get in touch to request more detail.

To find out more about more about our record-breaking parametric flood insurance visit our homepage.