Remote sensing innovations for index-based Fl­ood insurance

Why index-based Flood insurance (IBFI)?

 Growing population, poor management of land and water resources, and increased exposure to extreme climatic events have left a large number of people vulnerable to floods. A report by The United Nations Office for Disaster Risk Reduction (UNISDR) in 2011 estimated that 800 million people live in flood-prone areas, with 70 million experiencing yearly floods. Floods lead to widespread destruction and human tragedy, severely impacting infrastructure, agriculture and ecosystems. Agricultural communities are subjected to severe economic pressure from flood-induced losses.


Traditionally, flood-risk management has focused on engineered responses, such as dams and flood walls, or rebuilding activities and compensation after the event, particularly in the case of agriculture. However, over the last few decades, evidence has emerged that a broader approach through planning, building regulation and early warning systems can significantly reduce flood losses. Index-based flood insurance (IBFI) is one such solution that is both cost-effective and can better target post-disaster relief to compensate agricultural losses.


The 'IBFI' Proposition

Project Snapshot

Timeline:  2015-2018

Pilot Locations: Muzaffarpur, Darbhanga, Samastipur or Katihar districts in Bihar, India, and Sirajganj,Gaibandha and Pabna districts in Bangladesh.

Goal: Contribute to sustainable approaches to index-based flood insurance that can help smallholders better manage their production risks.

Index-based fl­ood insurance (IBFI) is an innovative approach to developing effective payout schemes for low-income, fl­ood-prone communities. This project aims to integrate hi-tech modelling and satellite imagery with other data to predetermine fl­ood thresholds, which could trigger speedy compensation payouts. Effective end-to-end solutions will be developed in collaboration with a range of organizations and experts from central and state government bodies, private insurance firms, community-based organizations (CBOs) and nongovernmental organizations (NGOs).


Potential Benefits?

Credit – Amit Kumar


If the solutions proposed by the project are scaled up, by 2025, approximately 1 million farmers will have agricultural fl­ood insurance, creating new and different types of jobs supported by strong public-private-partnership business models and delivering INR 10 billion in fl­ood protection.


Explore more about IBFI  –
  • Project in Detail – This section talks more about our pilot studies, technical details and other related aspects
  • News and Events – Find out the latest happenings in the project
  • Resources – A one-stop shop for all related videos, articles, presentations
  • About Us – A list of partners


5 Facts about Floods in South Asia

  • Between 1990 to 2015, SA floods accounts for 500 extreme events with an estimated economic losses of 88 billion USD and causing 1.2 billion victims.
  • Ganges basins covering parts of China, Nepal, India and Bangladesh accounted for some 1 billion people with an economic loss of 58 billion by floods between 1990 to 2015.
  • Flood prone area in Bangladesh is about 100,
  • In India, flood prone area is approximately 20million ha
  • Major flood events have occurred in 1987, 1995, 1998, 2002, 2004 and 2007