2013 Floods Show Good Benefits from Defense Measures: Munich Re

A examine from Munich Re notes that though all-natural catastrophe losses in 2013 had been dominated by floods, “detailed analyses have shown that protective measures can dramatically reduce losses. For instance, the June 2013 floods in Germany and neighboring countries proved to be significantly less damaging than the flooding in the summer of 2002.”

In 2013, some 37 % of all round losses worldwide from normal catastrophes had been flood-associated, substantially larger than the 22 % typical for the period given that 1980. These figures are taken from Munich Re’s new publication “Topics GEO – Normal catastrophes 2013”, which provides statistics and analyses of the most considerable occasions of last 12 months.

The floods that hit southern and eastern Germany and neighboring nations in June 2013 “caused total losses of €11.6 billion [$ 16.13 billion] and insured losses of €2.4 billion [$ 3.3 billion], generating them the year’s costliest organic catastrophe anywhere in the globe,” Munich Re mentioned.

“The Elbe floods of 2002, even so, caused losses totaling €17 billion [$ 23.4 billion]. The lower claims bill in 2013 is to some extent due to the variety of rainfall concerned: the reduced intensity of the rainfall in the Elbe catchment location in 2013 triggered fewer flash floods and consequently induced significantly less damage to infrastructure this kind of as roads and bridges. The Danube catchment, on the other hand, was much more significantly affected than in 2002.”

The report stressed that “flood manage structures have been a key aspect in the reduce degree of losses in 2013. For instance, mobile flood barriers in Prague, Dresden, Bratislava and Budapest had been able to withstand the waters. There had also been critical organizational lessons learnt from the 2002 floods.”

Munich Re cited 3 examples of how flood defenses mitigate the damages:

1) Chance management technique of the Dresden water utility: Following the 2002 floods, protection measures at critical facilities had been improved, e.g. in purchase to safeguard electrical power supplies. At the starting of the 2013 floods, the business set up a crisis management staff, involving and informing all related events. The result of these measures was that harm was only about 1-quarter of that in 2002 and business interruption at one particular water treatment plant was diminished to 18 days in 2013 in contrast with 160 days in 2002.

2) Housing companies: The owners of 3 big apartment blocks in Dresden designed a systematic alarm prepare, which enabled them to halve injury to underground car parks and electrical working systems.

3) Flood protection on the North Sea coast and the Elbe in Hamburg: In early December, Winter Storm Xaver triggered a extreme storm surge on the North Sea coast, reaching the 2nd highest degree in Hamburg because data started. Even though the surge peaked at a level 39 cm [app. 1 1/2 feet] larger than in the catastrophic flood of 1962 with its hundreds of fatalities, there was almost no harm thanks to a lot-improved flood safety.

“Flooding is the natural hazard for which protection measures are most effective”, explained Peter Höppe, Head of Geo Dangers Investigation at Munich Re. “Our loss statistics also show that creating nations in particular can endure horrendous harm and reduction of existence from flood occasions. Just a few measures this kind of as imposing a building ban in highly exposed regions and smart alarm methods can deliver about an tremendous improvement.”

Other significant floods in 2013 occurred in June in the Himalayan valleys of the Indian state Uttarakhand, leading to 5,500 fatalities. Flood in June and July in the Canadian provinces of Alberta and Ontario created total losses of almost $ 6 billion and $ 1.6 billion respectively, and floods in Colorado in September caused total losses of $ one.5 billion.

The biggest humanitarian catastrophe of the year was Typhoon Haiyan, believed to be the strongest tropical cyclone ever to make landfall, with peak gusts of up to 380 km/h [236 mph]. Haiyan swept across many Philippine islands, causing a storm surge 6 meters [18.6 feet] substantial and claiming 6,000 lives.

As catastrophic as some of these disasters were, Munich Re mentioned that “in terms of its monetary affect, 2013 was a reasonable 12 months for organic catastrophes, as there had been no massive losses from earthquakes or US hurricanes. General losses came to $ 135 billion, 27 percent beneath the common of the final 10 many years ($ 184 billion). Insured losses of $ 35 billion had been also under the 10-yr common ($ 56 billion) regardless of the large variety of events in central Europe.

“The reduction figures for 2013 display just critical preventive and protective measures are. This should send a clear signal to establishing countries in particular: a lot of are hugely vulnerable to natural hazards and are going through massive development in exposed values but have nevertheless to get suitable preventive measures to keep pace with these developments,” explained Torsten Jeworrek, Munich Re’s Reinsurance CEO.

“The widespread use of insurance to support reduce the consequences of all-natural catastrophes would be of excellent benefit in these countries. Chance partnerships amongst the state and the international insurance coverage market, tailored to suit personal countries and publicity circumstances, could be an ideal way to approach the matter. Munich Re can use its skills and encounter in the field of natural catastrophes to help produce efficient options for these issues.”

Supply: Munich Re

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