Flood control measures cut 2013 losses
Flood control structures were a major factor in the losses from the floods in 2013 not being as bad as they might have been, according to Munich Re.
In a report, part of which details the scale and impact of the floods, the German reinsurer has shown that the 2013 losses were considerably less damaging than the flooding in the summer of 2002 largely because of these defences.
In 2013, some 37 percent of overall losses worldwide from natural catastrophes were flood-related, substantially higher than the 22 percent average for the period since 1980. The reinsurer’s report is called Topics GEO – Natural catastrophes 2013.
The floods that hit southern and eastern Germany and neighbouring countries in June 2013 caused overall losses of €11.7 billion and insured losses of €2.4 billion, making them the year's costliest natural catastrophe anywhere in the world. The Elbe floods of 2002, however, caused losses totalling €17 billion.
Munich Re said the lower claims bill in 2013 is partly due to the type of rainfall involved and partly due to better flood control structures. It notes that mobile flood barriers in Prague, Dresden, Bratislava and Budapest were able to withstand the waters. There had also been important organisational lessons learnt from the 2002 floods, the report notes.
“Flooding is the natural hazard for which protection measures are most effective,” said Peter Höppe, head of Geo Risks Research at Munich Re. “Our loss statistics also show that developing countries in particular can suffer horrendous damage and loss of life from flood events. Just a few measures such as imposing a building ban in highly exposed regions and smart alarm systems can bring about an enormous improvement.”