A Fort Lauderdale startup believes you should be able to get an affordable flood-risk score for your home, similar to a credit score for your finances or a Carfax report for your car.
Coastal Risk Consulting’s new online products forecast the frequency and severity of flooding due to sea-level rise, sinking land and coastal erosion for individual properties over a 30-year mortgage cycle. It also forecasts the depth of flood waters relative to a property’s base elevation and storm surge risk in the case of a category 3 hurricane. Starting this week, its products are available to more than 50 million coastal properties in the United States, said Albert Slap, founder and president of the 1-year-old company.
This information has always been available from big engineering companies, said Slap, who had a 40-year career as an environmental lawyer and professor at Florida International University and University of Cincinnati. “We’re democratizing this information to make it available to millions of people at an affordable price.”
By entering a property’s address at coastalriskrapidassessment.com and paying $49.95, the property owner or potential owner will get a short report and score based on the projected number of days of flooding over time. Detailed 20-page reports costing $250 to $400 are also available, as well as custom reports for neighborhoods, communities, businesses and governmental facilities. All use the company’s proprietary algorithms. A sample report is available on its website.
CRC’s target market is homeowners, home buyers, investors, Realtors, home inspectors, lenders, insurers, businesses and governments — essentially for anyone who needs to make informed decisions about the resilience of real-estate assets in the face of rising sea levels and other climate impacts, said Slap, a serial entrepreneur. In the late 1990s, he co-founded GeoSphere Emergency Response Systems, a venture-backed enterprise software company.
In CRC’s first couple of days on the market, property developers, a golf course, a power plant and homeowners have learned whether their properties are at significant risk of flooding over the next 30 years.
CRC has partnered with the International Association of Certified Home Inspectors (InterNACHI) to enable its 14,000-member inspectors to provide CRC services to their residential and commercial clients.
Home inspectors already point to risks of termites, mold and lead paint, said Slap. “This technology is not going away. People are going to be adding it to their market baskets of tools with which to judge properties. … Better information leads to better decision-making.”
CRC, a 2015 Miami Herald Business Plan Challenge finalist, has also been working with IBM’s Smarter Cities program, as the predictive flood modeling technology can be used to evaluate transportation processes and logistics of a smart city. The need has never been greater to be “climate-ready and storm-safe,” Slap said.
Follow Nancy Dahlberg on Twitter @ndahlberg.