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This article was published on May 15, 2024

Norwegian startup trains AI to predict natural disasters

The tech can help us adapt to more extreme weather events

Norwegian startup trains AI to predict natural disasters

Norwegian startup 7Analytics has secured €4mn to help predict the next big flood or landslide.

The Bergen-based outfit trains machine learning algorithms on vast quantities of data on everything from weather to land use. The AI then learns to predict how natural disasters will unfold with metre-scale accuracy.

Whereas the weather forecast tells you when a storm is approaching, 7Analytics will tell you exactly how the water from this storm will travel through your community.

These insights are displayed on a dashboard. Businesses and governments can use the platform to gauge the risks to individual assets like buildings or roads. 

“Our platform can tell you if a flood will occur in your area of interest and issue alerts 72 hours in advance so you can take all the necessary actions to protect employees and assets,” Jonas Aas Torland, 7Analytics’ co-founder, previously told TNW.

Assessing insurance risk

7Analytics has also developed a specific platform — InzureCloud — specifically designed for insurance firms. Insurers can use the tool to assess the risk of flood damage to homes, for instance. If the risk is high, they can adjust their premiums in accordance.

Counterintuitively, this could actually help homeowners. 

Many insurers have withdrawn entirely from regions such as California and Florida due to the sheer amount of risks from wildfires and floods. This leaves people financially unprotected in the event of a natural disaster. 

“Insurers are leaving flood-prone areas because they lack adequate risk information,” said Torland. “Through our deeper approach, we are giving insurers data that accurately assess the specific risk of each property.” 

The European floods of 2021, which affected large areas of Germany and Belgium, took the lives of 209 people and cost over €30bn in damages. Catastrophic floods like these are becoming more common due to global heating.

“The insurance industry is communicating a critical need for higher quality risk data in the face of more frequent and higher impact extreme weather events,” said Torland. 

7Analytics says that 40 customers already use its tool. Armed with fresh funding, the startup will now expand its operations in the US.  

The funding round was led by Scale Capital, an early-stage venture capital fund based in Copenhagen.

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