Back arrow
Back to all posts

Floodbase Expands Flood Trigger Certification Functionality with Capella's High Resolution SAR Sensors

Written By:
January 23, 2024

Today, Floodbase and Capella are announcing a strategic partnership to bring additional high-resolution synthetic aperture radar (SAR) satellite data to Floodbase’s end-to-end solution for parametric flood insurance. This partnership will enable enhanced payout trigger certification for parametric insurance products by capturing the magnitude of flooding at high resolution and regardless of cloud cover. 

Over 80% of flood risk is uninsured, and flood risk is growing due to climate change and other factors. Traditional insurance alone cannot fill the gap, making parametric flood insurance a crucial tool for augmenting flood resilience. Enabling reliable parametric flood insurance products requires continuous flood monitoring and real-time flood triggers, unlocked by Floodbase's proprietary, AI-based technology. At Floodbase, we believe data quality is the key that will unlock the parametric flood market, which is why we’re expanding our payout trigger certification functionality with best-in-class SAR imagery from Capella’s satellite constellation. 

Floodbase primarily relies on optical satellite imagery, ground sensors, and hydrological models in its core solution for two reasons. First, because these sources provide multiple decades of data, which is crucial for insurers to confidently price policies. And second, because they continuously monitor flood conditions, enabling indices that are consistent for both pricing and triggering payouts of parametric policies, which is essential for decreasing basis risk. Our multi-sensor fusion approach allows us to seamlessly add additional sensors for validating flood events ahead of policy payouts. One way we measure flooding is via active sensors sensitive to the microwave part of the electromagnetic spectrum, called Synthetic Aperture Radar (SAR) sensors. Microwave radiation can penetrate through clouds, allowing Floodbase to map flooding in all weather conditions. Because SAR sensors provide their own illumination, they are not restricted to daytime image acquisition, making them a valuable data supplement for payout trigger certification. 

Capella’s tasking API enables Floodbase to automate the acquisition of SAR imagery when conditions require it. Their SAR constellation is an effective complementary dataset for verifying the magnitude of floods at specific locations and validating flood maps produced in cloudy weather and at night. The addition of Capella to Floodbase’s solution strengthens its ability to produce large-area flood maps, regardless of weather or time of day. We’re thrilled to be incorporating Capella’s on-demand, high-resolution SAR imagery into our solution.

Figure1: (a) Capella Space Very High Resolution (VHR) HH-polarized radar backscatter image acquired over Larkana, Pakistan on 31st August 2022
Figure1: (b) Flood map produced by Floodbase proprietary technology annotated in light blue.


“We are thrilled to partner with Floodbase to leverage the value of Capella’s all-weather SAR imagery and automated tasking system to help close the flood insurance gap. The combination of Floodbase’s large-area parametric insurance solution with Capella’s high-resolution SAR imagery will unlock new parametric use cases to support at-risk communities of severe flooding events. - Dan Getman, VP of Product, Capella

“Floodbase has a high bar for accuracy and reliability when evaluating new sensors. We were incredibly impressed with the resolution and reliability of Capella’s SAR sensor, and especially excited about the ability to automate tasking via API. Parametric flood insurance solutions built on Floodbase and Capella data will be superior than competing solutions for a broad range of use cases and clients, and I’m excited to scale the combined solution” - Annbjørg Medhaug, Chief Product & Strategy Officer, Floodbase 

There is no one-size-fits-all solution for parametric flood insurance. Closing the insurance gap will require partnerships, collaborations, and a portfolio of solutions. Floodbase is thrilled to be partnering with an organization that shares our commitment to using earth observation science and machine learning to enable all communities to prepare for and respond to climate disasters. 

‍If you’d like to learn more about our joint solution or are interested in partnering on parametric flood insurance, please reach out at