SSBN was formed out of the University of Bristol in 2014, in response to the need for globally available flood data. The group’s leader, Prof. Paul Bates, was awarded the Lloyd’s Science of Risk Prize in 2012 and SSBN were runners up in NERC impact awards 2015.

Essentially, the company builds computer models that allow clients to assess their exposure to flooding, with global coverage. The company is currently working across multiple industries including the (re)insurance, international development, conservation, disaster response and aid sectors. The company is also undertaking development work with Google on a number of initiatives, and will soon be licensing global flood hazard data to their Crisis Response team.

Globally flood risk is perceived to be increasing, with losses in the (re)insurance industry alone anticipated to surpass $trillion by 2050. Moreover, the (re)insurance industry is increasing it's efforts to penetrate emerging markets, yet there is little or no information available regarding flood risk. In fact, there is little provision of flood data outside of a handful of western countries. This lack of provision was highlighted by the Thailand floods of 2011, which cost the (re)insurance industry in excess of $billion.

The research group at Bristol has strong links with the (re)insurance market, and it was in response to this call for better global flood data that SSBN was formed. The team behind SSBN spent 2 years developing methods that allow flood risk analytics to be provided with global coverage.

Since its formation, SSBN has been focussed on developing its presence in the (re)insurance market, and has recently begun licensing data to Lloyds of London syndicates. The company now aims to expand its pool of licensed clients. Moreover, the company has also found alternative markets for the data it provides, and has secured multiple contracts with the World Bank, the Nature conservancy, Google, and numerous consultancies.