Groundsure launches new module to evaluate climate change risks to a property

It is designed primarily for property lawyers, but it is also available to brokers

Groundsure launches new module to evaluate climate change risks to a property

Environmental analytics business Groundsure has launched a new climate data module, which analyses and translates data concerning the risks climate change might pose to a property.

The module, ClimateIndex, will be added to Groundsure’s main residential and environmental search reports following a year of development and a soft-launch trial.

ClimateIndex anticipates changes in physical risks posed by climate change – including flooding, ground subsidence, and coastal erosion – and gives an overall score for the effect on a property, assessing the risk over one, five, and 30 years.

Although the module has been designed primarily for property lawyers, it is also available to brokers, valuers, and others involved in the residential and commercial purchase process.

At the conference where the module was launched, Dan Montagnani (pictured), chief executive at Groundsure, said property lawyers will soon be required to report on risks posed by climate change.

“We know property lawyers have a lot on their plates already — our job is to make their lives easier and ensure they don’t have to interpret science as well or think about multiple search reports,” Montagnani stated. “This is why we have developed ClimateIndex. It portrays data clearly and concisely, making it simple for property lawyers to advise clients on property transactions and allow people to make better decisions.” 

Montagnani added that not only is ClimateIndex provided at no extra cost in key residential and commercial searches, it should ensure lawyers are climate compliance-ready, too.

Environmental lawyer Stephen Sykes, who is also a consultant at Capital Law, outlined the case for residential conveyancers and commercial property lawyers to start advising clients on climate risks.

“We owe our clients a duty of care to advise about the effects climate change will have on land and buildings – especially now that climate data is readily available as part of existing environmental searches. Law firms will potentially expose themselves to PI claims and negative ESG publicity if they fail to warn clients about climate risk,” Sykes said.

If a property’s ClimateIndex score increases in the future, it may affect the value, as well as the availability, of parametric insurance.

“The risks we are looking at are of concern to homebuyers and also lenders. You can’t assume properties will be insurable if they are in higher risk areas. Mortgages may not be available for high-risk properties or may cost more. An increase in a property’s ClimateIndex score is considered in the context of the purchase and data provided in this report,” Montagnani noted. “We will be adapting the module with more support as guidance becomes available.”