Daily Express

Up­front flood de­fence

- pre­visico.com Maisha Frost Business · Disasters · Natural Disasters · Climate Change · Ecology · United Kingdom · Loughborough University · Loughborough · United States of America · IBM · The Weather Company · The Weather Company · Environment Agency

WHEN storms bat­ter Bri­tain in the fu­ture, it could be the su­per ac­cu­rate flood fore­cast­ing de­vel­oped by Lough­bor­ough Uni­ver­sity spin- out Pre­visico that saves lives and liveli­hoods. An emerg­ing force in the in­surtech sec­tor, the busi­ness pin­points risks in real time – known as now­cast­ing – down to prop­erty street level and can gen­er­ate a new fore­cast ev­ery three hours.

Other haz­ards such as hail, wind and snow melt are also cov­ered in its sub­scrip­tion- based ser­vice model.

Orig­i­nally a spe­cial­ist in surface flood­ing, the main type caus­ing havoc do­mes­ti­cally, “we’re now the only fore­cast that cov­ers all forms of flood­ing,” says chief ex­ec­u­tive Jonathan Jack­son. He is pre­dict­ing a £ 500,000 turnover for Pre­visico this year and plans a growth fund­ing raise in 2021.

Ex­treme weather events and cli­mate change gen­er­ally, as well as spread­ing ur­ban­i­sa­tion on un­fit land such as flood plains, have been driv­ing fac­tors world­wide for the in­crease in floods and their dev­as­tat­ing af­ter­math. In the UK some 40 per cent of busi­nesses hit by se­vere wa­ter dam­age fail to re­cover.

Pre­visico’s clients range from the pub­lic sec­tor, the Cab­i­net Of­fice, to coun­cils, in­sur­ers and the emer­gency ser­vices, a new emerg­ing sec­tor us­ing pre­cise fore­cast­ing to im­prove re­sponse times.

In­ter­na­tion­ally, new clients in Asia are in the pipe­line as well as the US, where it has re­cently launched.

Founded by Lough­bor­ough aca­demics and ma­jor­ity share­hold­ers Pro­fes­sor Dapeng Yu and Dr Avi Baruch, an ap­proach by the Cab­i­net Of­fice for its mod­el­ling ex­per­tise led to the spin- out and then its Re­silienceDi­rect ser­vice last year, fol­lowed by its Flood­Map Live sys­tem. It now em­ploys 15, in­te­grates pre­cip­i­ta­tion fore­casts from IBM’s The Weather Com­pany, and of­fers a “48- hour fore­cast across all flood forms and at 25m through­out the UK. We also have a dash­board and warn­ings ser­vice by email or text for prop­erty level warn­ings,” says Jack­son.

False alarms are a com­mon ex­pe­ri­ence but Pre­visico sig­nif­i­cantly re­duces that, he ex­plains.

“This re­li­able as­pect of our ser­vice has been par­tic­u­larly suc­cess­ful. It en­ables peo­ple to move valu­ables to safety and put up flood de­fences to pro­tect prop­erty. We can also fore­cast small rivers and streams not cov­ered by the En­vi­ron­ment Agency.”

A £ 177,000 grant and a £ 700,000 loan from gov­ern­ment- backed In­no­vate UK have helped ex­pan­sion.

While Pre­visico has a com­mer­cial im­per­a­tive, Jack­son is aware of the sup­port the com­pany can con­trib­ute to disas­ter re­lief in coun­tries on the front­line of cli­mate change. “This is the most press­ing is­sue of our age,” he says. “Where we can help we will.”

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 ??  ?? LEADER: Jack­son and, left, the re­sults of lo­cal flood­ing
LEADER: Jack­son and, left, the re­sults of lo­cal flood­ing
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