Large flood events can have a significant impact on the insurance industry. However, during and in the immediate aftermath of such events, the extent of the flood losses are often unknown and a reliable loss estimate only develops over time.

Rapid high-resolution flood footprints based on satellite earth observation data can facilitate the assessment of the impact of major floods while they are developing. These data represent geo-coded ‘snapshots’ showing the area covered by the flood water at a given time during the event. Overlaid with geo-referenced information on, for example, population or insured values, they allow for immediate impact assessment during and after a flood. This information can then be used by the insurance industry as well as national and local authorities to assist in their efforts to respond to flood disasters.

In 2012/2013, during a 12-month pilot phase and funded by the European Space Agency, PERILS made footprints available for significant flood events. The footprints showed which areas had been flooded and were used to facilitate rapid loss impact assessments. They also helped promote a better understanding of flood risk and ultimately expand the range of flood insurance solutions available.

In 2015 PERILS handed over the production and distribution of Satellite Flood Footprints to e-GEOS and Earthlab Luxembourg.