Norwich Union has commissioned a new digital map of Britain to help pinpoint and understand exactly which areas of the country are at risk from river flooding.
The map, the largest ever undertaken in Britain, will be used to provide more accurate premiums for individual homes and businesses according to their risk of flood, says the insurance firm.
Norwich Union has partnered Intermap Technologies Corporation, Willis and HR Wallingford to undertake the project. Data for the map will be collected by an airborne radar system, which will then be used to produce a digital elevation model map showing the height of the ground above sea level. This will then be combined with a flood software model to produce information on where floods are likely to occur, how they can spread and how far they can extend.
Mapping of the country has already started and is taking place by region, with initial data being collected at either 28,000 or 20,000 feet, depending on the density of the population in the area.
Clive Bolton, director of pricing for Norwich Union Insurance says: "One of the major obstacles to better flood prediction has been the lack of consistently accurate information on the height of land surrounding rivers. By investing in this technology, we'll have the best available information about the risk of flood for insurance purposes."
According to Norwich Union, changes to premiums will come into force later this year, following collection and analysis of the initial mapping data.