Terrafirma win Innovation Award at Mortgage Finance Gazette Awards



Terrafirma land coveted prize for coastal hazards innovation

Terrafirma’s assessment of risk from coastal hazards in property transactions has won a prestigious award at the virtual 2021 Mortgage Finance Gazette (MFG) Awards.

The recent update to Terrafirma’s Ground Report has brought conveyancers and homebuyers risk assessment on coastal hazards, including information on flooding and erosion, prior to purchase for the first time. Terrafirma virtually picked up the award just two years after being highly commended in the same category for pioneering the original alternative to the Coal Authority’s CON29M Report.

The MFG Innovation Award, assessed by a panel of independent judges from within the industry, including Paul Broadhead, Head of Mortgage Policy at the Building Societies Association, is awarded to non-lenders for cutting-edge innovations that make a real difference to the market over the last year.

“Terrafirma beat off formidable competition to win this category, impressing the judges with its unique and increasingly necessary coastal hazards report. “This report is particularly important because it comes at a time when the changing climate is raising sea levels – something, experts predict, could cause approximately £1 billion worth of property to be lost to sea over the next century.”

Kate Saines, Digital Editor of Mortgage Finance Gazette

Terrafirma launched the brand new coastal hazards module in September as an addition to their market-leading Ground Report, which allows conveyancers and homebuyers to access risk assessment across other ground hazards including coal mining, all other mining, clay related subsidence, landslides and other natural ground hazards.

“We are delighted to be picking up this award. Since release in September, conveyancers transacting near the coast can add a layer of protection from coastal hazards for their clients by purchasing a Ground Report in the knowledge that Terrafirma’s geologists, scientists and engineers have assessed and identified any potential risks, along with recommendations to minimise that risk.”

Tom Backhouse, CEO and Founder of Terrafirma

The now award-winning coastal hazards module is the latest in a long list of innovations brought to market by Terrafirma to help conveyancers and their clients better understand and minimise the risk from ground hazards in residential and commercial property transactions.

The Ground Report itself is the embodiment of their mission in conveyancing and when launched in 2018, it became the first available report to combine an official CON29M with assessment of risks from all other mining and natural ground stability hazards. The 2019 update added another first – detailed, property-specific assessment of the risk from clay-related subsidence, including insight into the long-term effects of a changing climate on subsidence risks and what it means for homeowners.

The coastal erosion problem for property owners is not new. Unpublished analysis from 2014 by the Environment Agency projects that almost 7,000 properties worth over £1billion will be lost to the sea in England and Wales over the next century. While communities in coastal hazard hotspots today – like Happisburgh and Fairbourne – are already faced with losing their property and livelihoods to the sea, shifting climate patterns in the UK will result in more intense storms and sea level rise, exposing far more property and people to this hazard. Terrafirma’s interactive story map ‘the rising risks to coastal property and land’ explores some of the high risk areas along Britain’s eroding coastline.

The government’s July policy statement on flood and coastal erosion risk management demonstrates a commitment to increasing the UK’s resilience to flooding and coastal erosion, and an indication as to what the science is saying about the magnitude of the threat we face in the years to come.

“While it’s hard to see beyond the Covid fog at the moment, climate change is the biggest challenge facing society. We want to give more people the opportunity to identify and minimise ground risk and prevent costly consequences. Understanding how ground hazards are changing and how this impacts people and organisations indirectly through their property and land interests is a key part of this mission. Winning this award is fantastic validation for the hard work of the team but we won’t be complacent and will continue to work on delivering innovative products that make a real difference to our customers.”

Tom Backhouse, CEO and Founder of Terrafirma

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