Swiss Re, ICEYE and Guy Carpenter tests a parametric flood insurance for New York

Swiss Re Corporate Solutions, ICEYE and Guy Carpenter are participating in a parametric pilot program to protect low-income communities in New York City from flooding. These communities were among those severely impacted by Hurricane Sandy.

The program is led by Swiss Re and Guy Carpenter and is funded by the Civic Innovation Challenge of the National Science Foundation and the Department of Homeland Security.

The pilot was developed in partnership with Center for New York City Neighborhoods (CNYCN), the New York City Mayor’s Office of Climate & Environmental Justice, and the Environmental Defense Fund (see Flood Risk is Insurable. How Does Insurance Industry Can Close the Protection Gap?).

The initiative is part of a multi-agency effort to enhance the financial resilience of low- and moderate-income households exposed to flood risk in the New York City Region.

The pilot parametric community flood insurance scheme for New York City neighbourhoods will deliver payouts based on a range of data inputs, including ICEYE’s unique satellite insights, as well as on-the-ground real-time sensors, and social media images, all of which ICEYE will compile and report on whether the parametric triggers are breached.

ICEYE will conduct 24/7 monitoring for potential flood events.

As well as its own satellite imagery from its earth observation constellation, ICEYE will utilise data from New York City’s extensive water sensor network, Flood Net, and also monitor precipitation forecasts, river gauges, and other open-source evidence of developments likely to cause flooding.

Swiss Re, ICEYE and Guy Carpenter tests a parametric flood insurance for New York

When a flood event occurs, ICEYE will continuously monitor and analyse data from the affected areas, after which a comprehensive analysis of the data will be made over a 5-day period before a final analysis is delivered to Swiss Re to define whether a payment will be made to the NYCN, the insured.

The parametric solution, insured by Swiss Re Corporate Solutions, will fund rapid cash payments by CNYCN following a flood event. The 12-month trial period commences in February 2023.

ICEYE will supply hazard data based on satellite imagery and auxiliary information sources, which determine the overall flood extent as well as flood depth at an individual building level. This information is provided by ICEYE soon after the peak flooding is captured.

ICEYE data may be used by emergency management agencies throughout the city to improve targeted response activities.

Swiss Re will use this data to establish whether the payment threshold of the pilot product has been met or exceeded.

If triggered, CNYCN will receive an instant payment which will fund cash grants to those affected by the flood.

Swiss Re, ICEYE and Guy Carpenter tests a parametric flood insurance for New York

The hope is that the resulting combination of more efficient response and quicker relief will lead to more successful recovery outcomes, ultimately driving financial resilience for these LMI households in the face of increasing flooding concerns.

ICEYE delivers unmatched persistent monitoring capabilities for any location on earth. Owning the world’s largest synthetic-aperture radar constellation, the company enables objective, data-driven decisions for its customers in sectors such as insurance, natural catastrophe response and recovery, security, maritime monitoring and finance. ICEYE’s data can be collected day or night, and even through cloud cover. 

Nataly Kramer   by Nataly Kramer