Groundsure has launched its new climate data module, following a year of development and a soft-launch trial.
The module, ClimateIndex™, analyses and translates data concerning the risks that climate change might pose to a property in the future. It anticipates changes in physical risks posed by climate change – the most serious of which are flooding, ground subsidence, and coastal erosion – and gives an overall score for the effect on a property, assessing the risk of climate risk to a property over 1, 5, and 30 years. The module will be added to Groundsure’s main residential and environmental search reports.
Groundsure, an environmental analytics business, launched the module at the Bold Legal Conference.
Dan Montagnani, CEO of Groundsure said: “Thanks to the Bank of England, the Prudential Regulation Authority, and with forthcoming new guidance from the Law Society and lenders, there’s no question property lawyers will soon be required to report on risks posed by climate change.
“At the very least, climate risk statements should be added to a report on title to make buyers aware of the risks that may affect the property in the future. 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. It’s an evolving area and we will be adapting the module with more support as guidance becomes available.”
“We know property lawyers have a lot on their plates — our job is to make their lives easier and ensure they don’t have to interpret science or think about multiple search reports. Not only is ClimateIndex ™ provided at no extra cost in our key residential and commercial searches, but given the forthcoming changes to guidance, it should ensure lawyers are climate compliance-ready, too. It is the first inclusive climate data that has been added to conveyancing search reports to meet future compliance requirements.”
At the conference, Montagnani was joined by Stephen Sykes, an Environmental Lawyer and Consultant from Capital Law, who outlined the case for residential conveyancers and commercial property lawyers to start advising clients on climate risks.
Stephen Sykes said: “Clearly, 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.”
If a property’s ClimateIndex™ score increases in the future, it may affect the value as well as the availability of parametric insurance.
Dan Montagnani said: “The risks we are looking at are of concern to homebuyers but also lenders. You can’t assume properties will be insurable if they are in higher risk areas and 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.”
Earlier this month, Groundsure hosted the first Conveyancing Climate Change Conference at the Law Society. At the event, Stephen Tromans QC, Environmental Barrister at 39 Essex Street Chambers said: “Solicitors have a legal duty to advise their clients on climate related risks. As the tools and information become available, they need to discuss the importance of investigation.”
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.