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WhenFresh launches cladding dataset to help lenders assess risk in mortgage books

  • 22/02/2023
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WhenFresh launches cladding dataset to help lenders assess risk in mortgage books
Insurtech WhenFresh has teamed up with a team of 600 RICS-qualified surveyors to create a cladding dataset that can be used to more accurately assess risk exposure.

The project was launched in 2020 and involved remote inspection tools and data sources such as satellite imagery, drone footage, building and planning records.

This was then enhanced by physical surveys and other input, which was then scrutinized by a group of over 600 RICS-qualified surveyors.

The dataset is now available to the wide market, following six months of in-market testing with a group of existing clients, and offers property-level cladding data for 485,234 properties within tall multi-dwelling units at 18 metres or higher in height.


New property categories

The properties are placed in one of three categories.

The first category is green, which means that the building has no cladding, followed by amber which means the building potentially has cladding and merits an EWS1 inspection and red means the building has cladding.

WhenFresh says that this means that mortgage lenders, insurers, local authorities, central government, housing associations, asset managers, and other parties can access cladding data alongside other property data they may request from WhenFresh in a flat file format or via API in real time.

For instance, a lender can match their whole existing mortgage book to the cladding dataset through WhenFresh to carry out analysis at an individual properly level.


A full understanding of cladding issues

WhenFresh co-founder and CEO Mark Cunningham said that the dataset provided insight on nearly 50,000 properties which were jointly worth in excess of £50bn.

Cunnigham continued: “This new dataset provides lenders with the means to fully understand how their mortgage books are affected by cladding issues, down to individual property level, so they can identify where risks lie and make better decisions moving forward.

“New mortgage applications can also be pre-screened against this cladding dataset, and it has now become a key component of our WRAP service [data enrichment tool], where a wide range of data variables are applied to packages of mortgages being prepared for securitisation, to give surety to the buy-side.”

He added: “It is obviously a big deal for insurers too, as they can now better understand property risk across their existing policy portfolios and can access this cladding dataset, along with all the other data we make available via API, to drive more accurately priced, instant quotes for new insurance applications.”

Max Griffiths, group head of quantitative risk at Together, noted: “WhenFresh’s wall cladding dataset enabled Together to truly assess our limited exposure to external wall cladding risk across the full book. Working with the WhenFresh analytics team has enabled us to establish a clear set of actionable data points that support our prudent approach to lending, and their data enrichment has helped us in preparing data for securitisation issuances where additional reporting requirements around ESG has been required.”

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