Property Assure and the European Space Agency

Property Assure Ltd, a subsidiary of outsource specialist CET, has completed the first development stage of its Ground Instability Risk Profiling (GIRP) service, with support and funding from the European Space Agency.

The €500k project will provide a UK-based service for assessing the risk of subsidence, landslip and heavy ground movement. The project leverages the benefits of integrating Earth Observation and Global Navigation Satellite System (GNSS) capabilities with property data sources across the entire insurance sector.

Driven from user group feedback, the aim of GIRP is to increase financial viability and profitability for property insurance clients across the main areas of the subsidence insurance process: book profiling; CAT modelling; underwriting; and claims management.

Property Assure’s well-known expertise in subsidence meant that it was the best placed organisation to head up the study, leading a team of geology and space technology industry experts and receiving support and input from a number of key global insurance organisations.

The findings from the first development stage include the ability for subsidence risk profiling to be delivered on a property-specific level, through a unique core subsidence hazard score. This is derived via the weighted integration of relevant databases that represent the key drivers of subsidence – a combination of soil and property related datasets, property specific information and historical insurance claims data. It is uniquely designed, having the ability to be augmented with specific satellite ground motion information and availability of current technologies to deliver an initial service offering.

The GIRP service enables an accurate and predictive risk to be profiled in a wide range of flexible formats. Initially a UK service, the proposed model is expected to have the potential for global implementation.

Andy Lucas MD of Property Assure, said:  “We are delighted to have completed the first development stage. There have been significant developments in flood mapping and storm tracking, the GIRP service aims to ultimately provide the same level of granularity for subsidence – the largest ground instability issue affecting property in the UK.

A research study conducted by Swiss RE in conjunction with the Swiss Institute of Technology, predicts soil subsidence will worsen and spread in Europe, with some areas seeing more than a 50% increase in future losses over the next 10 to 25 years. These findings, along with predictions of climate change increase by The Environment Agency, mean that conducting studies such as this is essential for understanding and managing future subsidence issues for the protection of future property owning generations.

The next stage, which will again be supported by the European Space Agency, will be a demonstration project to develop the GIRP service range, with the technical delivery scoped, built and tested for market release.

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