© 2019, Emerald Publishing Limited. Purpose: The purpose of this paper is to understand how built environment professionals approach the valuation of flood risk in commercial property markets and whether insurance promotes mitigation in different insurance and risk management regimes, draw common conclusions and highlight opportunities to transfer learning. Design/methodology/approach: An illustrative case study approach involving literature search and 72 interviews with built environment professionals, across five countries in four continents. Findings: Common difficulties arise in availability, reliability and interpretation of risk information, and in evaluating the impact of mitigation. These factors, coupled with the heterogeneous nature of commercial property, lack of transactional data and remote investors, make valuation of risk particularly challenging in the sector. Insurance incentives for risk mitigation are somewhat effective where employed and could be further developed, however, the influence of insurance is hampered by lack of insurance penetration and underinsurance. Research limitations/implications: Further investigation of the means to improve uptake of insurance and to develop insurance incentives for mitigation is recommended. Practical implications: Flood risk is inconsistently reflected in commercial property values leading to lack of mitigation and vulnerability of investments to future flooding. Improvements are needed in: access to adequate risk information; professional skills in valuing risk; guidance on valuation of flood risk; and regulation to ensure adequate consideration of risk and mitigation options. Originality/value: The research addresses a global issue that threatens local, and regional economies through loss of utility, business profitability and commercial property value. It is unique in consulting professionals across international markets.