In response to the increased frequency and severity of flood loss, FM Global worked for years with external scientific, academic and governmental organizations to develop the one-of-a-kind global flood map. The revolutionary tool, which was launched in November 2016, is already proving useful. The map identifies high and moderate flood exposed areas—which is especially critical in parts of the world where flood data is deficient or inconsistent.
One example of the global flood map coming into play occurred when AFM was working with a broker on a prospect with properties around the world. A visit was requested for the manufacturing plant in Hungary, a critical location for the company's European operations. Our field engineer utilized the map to assess and quantify the flood exposure since no credible local resources existed.
During the visit, the facility manager told the engineer that they would be constructing a new manufacturing building adjacent to the current facility within a year. The field engineer informed the facility manager that their existing facility was flood exposed and the new building should be built at a higher elevation above the flood exposure. Not only was the local management unaware of the flood exposure, the architects did not consider flood while doing the preliminary engineering for the new building.
The facility manager proceeded to work with city officials, who confirmed that a flood exposure did exist. The facility manager was very appreciative of the field engineer's expertise and promised to raise the concern with the architects. In addition, this information was communicated to the prospect's risk manager during the presentation of the insurance quote.
This prospect is now a client.
Available to the public and on AFM Online
In November 2016, the flood map was released via Map Center on AFM Online, our extranet for brokers and clients. And a public version was made available on AFM's public website in April 2017. The map is very easy to use. Once in Map Center, AFM Online users should select Active Maps, click Global Flood Map, then just type in an address. If the location shows up in a pink area, it's in a high-hazard flood zone; if the location appears in a yellow area, it's in a moderate-hazard flood zone.
The global flood map is also considered a game changer due to the speed with which assessments can be made. For example, when a broker asks AFM to submit a proposal for an account with numerous locations worldwide, assessing the flood hazard is easier now. What would have taken the account engineer days or weeks prior to the creation of the flood map, now only takes hours or a few days, depending on the number of locations.
The map is just one component of how AFM helps clients protect themselves from flood loss. We take the same approach to flood as we do other perils. It starts with the science involved, is supplemented by the boots-on-the-ground assessments, and ends with mitigation solutions that are cost effective and practical. So, once a flood exposure is identified, our engineers work with brokers and clients on mitigation strategies, such as implementing a Flood Emergency Response Plan (FERP), elevating critical equipment, and using FM Approved flood mitigation products, such as plank doors and perimeter barriers.
Regardless of where in the world clients are located, AFM's goal is to work with our brokers and clients to help them better understand potential flood vulnerabilities and offer suggestions on how to be more resilient.