Tackling vulnerability through Index-Based Flood Insurance (IBFI)

Application field: 

IWMI has developed IBFI in order to support its water risks and disaster risk management solutions work; by determine flood depth, duration and extent to enhance agricultural resilience and reducing the risks of communities from recurrent floods, based on Earth observation data and flood modelling tools. Effective end-to-end solutions will be developed in collaboration with a range of organizations and experts from central and state government bodies, insurance industry, community-based organizations (CBOs) and non-governmental organizations (NGOs).


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 are being developed through a public-private partnership for scaling up and sustainability through invest in disaster risk resilience agenda. The project will cover India and Bangladesh, making it the first attempt to develop IBFI at a large scale.

Key results: 

• Proof-of-concept on IBFI coupled with the flood hazard model and remote sensing (RS) data for the pilot sites developed.

Digital flood mapping tool to monitor and quantify the impact of floods on crops, and its application in insurance schemes.

• Design and pilot test a set of farmer-friendly flood insurance contracts for at least three districts with a considerable number of marginalized female farmers/poor people to ensure contracts are not gender-biased.

• Business Models and Economic analysis of IBFI is being developed 

• Obtaining feedback from government, insurance industry, community-based organizations (CBOs) and nongovernmental organizations (NGOs) through workshop and policy dialogue forum. 



IBFI is one such solution that is both cost-effective and can better target post-disaster relief. IBFI will boost public-private partnership to invest in the institutions and policies that will build community resilience in the face of the new climate reality. IBFI has the potential to be a part of a more wide-ranging and multi-faceted approach to make sure that flood-affected regions remain flood resilient in years to come. 



• Amarnath et al. (2017) Index-Based Flood Insurance (IBFI) for Mitigating Risks in Agriculture: Current Status, Challenges and Way Forward. IWMI Working Paper (In Review)

• Amarnath et al. (2017) Financing the floods. Geospatial Magazine. (In review)

• Amarnath, G., & Rajah, A. (2016). An evaluation of flood inundation mapping from MODIS and ALOS satellites for Pakistan. Geomatics, Natural Hazards and Risk, 1-12.

• Malik S. et al. (2017) Towards developing a business model for Index Based Flood Insurance (IBFI). IWMI Working Paper (In Review)


Application maturity: 


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