Bridging the knowledge gap to boost SME resilience

By increasing understanding of the impacts of flooding on small and medium-sized enterprises (SMEs) this project will help a range of different sectors, including insurers and local authorities, to provide SMEs with better and more tailored support resulting in a more resilient sector.

Project Summary: 99% of Yorkshire’s private sector is made up of SMEs; these are organisations that are often vulnerable to flooding, and the knock–on effects to the regional economy of a flood event can be significant and far-reaching. The lack of knowledge about the economic impacts of flooding on SMEs is an important gap that brings significant challenges to SMEs, insurers and lenders, sub-regional and Local Authorities and the National Government.

This project seeks to fill the knowledge gap about SME flood risk management by working with Local Authorities and the insurance sector to increase their understanding on the economic costs and resilience efforts of SMEs to enable a space where SMEs are better adapted to deal with future flood events. A key part of the project will be development of a robust methodology to assess the direct and indirect costs of flooding that will support local authorities to carry out future flood assessments and, in the event of a flood, prioritise their response in a consistent and timely way. This will also allow them to prepare more robust business plans and lobby for additional funds to be better prepared to respond to future flooding. In addition, the project will provide detailed information on the effectiveness of resilience measures and risk reduction activities to insurers, lenders and surveyors so that they can improve their confidence that that flood risk is properly priced and managed by SMEs, this will allow them to offer tailored products and increase the resilience of SMEs.

This improved understanding of actions that SMEs can take to reduce their flood risk, manage flood damage when it occurs and the overall improved understanding of how to avoid direct and indirect losses will be the seed to help engage SMEs in flood protection across the region including as part of the Yorkshire Future Flood Resilience Pathfinder project iCASP is working on. The methodology that will be co-created could be used by other Local Authorities in areas of flood risk.

Project Team: Paola Sakai – University of Leeds; Marco Sakai – University of York; Patrick Bowes, Seamus McDonnell, Justin Wilson – West Yorkshire Combined Authorities; Virginia Saynor – Environment Agency; Flood Risk Managers of the Leeds City Region; Stephen Curry – Upper Calder Valley Renaissance; Graham Brogden – insurance expert and former head of Defra’s Round Table; Ian Gibbs -Cunningham Lindsay (and also co-leader of the Defra’s task force Group 2); COOP; ALLIANZ; AGEAS; BNP PARIBAS; RAB flood consultants.  (project lead in bold)

Project number: 16

Duration: November 2019 – January 2021

Outputs: will be made available in the resources section of this website

Updates: Track the progress of this project

Improving SME resilience