A FLOOD insurance company is using a different approach to help companies recover from flooding quicker.

FloodFlash is a parametric (event-based) insurance company which pays its clients as soon as a flood happens.

Historically, this type of insurance policy was only available to large companies or governments, but FloodFlash is now offering the insurance to all businesses.

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The team say their policy offers a quicker way for companies to recover from flooding, and they have set their sights on flood-prone Oxford.

Yesterday, they spent the day talking to businesses on Oxford's riverside Osney Mead Industrial Estate about the benefits of their parametric insurance.

Commercial director Brent Jackson, who was among the team who travelled from the company's London office yesterday, said: “The most important thing is that it’s specific and exact.

"All companies rely on assessors coming in and this can take a long time for them to decide on how much money they will give out.

The Oxford Times:

“With this policy, instead of taking months, as soon as the flood sensor is breached, the company will get their money sent to their bank account straight away.”

With FloodFlash insurance, payment is based on depth rather than cost. This is measured by a sensor that is installed at a company’s premises where the sum of money to pay is set depending on where the ‘trigger’ point on the sensor is.

When it floods and the water breaches the trigger point, FloodFlash is alerted and money is sent directly to the business.

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Companies pay £100 annually for the sensor and an average insurance policy for a company is around£1,000 a year.

The insurance company calculates premiums through collecting data such as records of previous flood events, terrain data and historic rainfall records, but prices are low because underwriters are less exposed to the uncertainties around how much the cost of flooding would be.

Mr Jackson said: “Once a flood happens, everyone calls for an assessor but they can’t get to everyone quickly. By setting the amount to pay before, there’s no longer a wait.

“Companies can also spend the money they receive however they wish, whether it’s buying new stock, getting new furniture or wiring.”

Customers can also adjust the scale to reflect what they are willing to pay in premiums, or to reflect measures they have taken to protect their premises.

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So far, FloodFlash says it has protected £40 million worth of businesses.

Mr Jackson said: “We pay the company, if not on the same day, then within a few days. It allows companies to recover quicker and they’re ready to get back on with business.”

The team conducted market research to help them to better understand the needs of local businesses in the city.

Ian Bartholomew, founder of the insurer, said: “We founded FloodFlash to help businesses become more resilient against flooding.

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"Our technology and expertise is now making event-based insurance available to everyone.”

FloodFlash’s timely visit to the city comes after the delay to the £150m Oxford Flood Alleviation Scheme that was announced by the Environment Agency last month.

Construction of the scheme was due to start this year but will now start in 2020.