The massive floods spawned by Storm Desmond in December 2015 may be a rarity in a hundred years, but insurance giant Zurich
said they now pose a higher risk.
In a new report on Storm Desmond, the major insurer noted that once-in-a-century floods should no longer be considered low risk and that perceptions of such disasters should change.
Desmond, which was quickly followed by Storms Eva and Frank, caused severe flooding for homeowners and businesses across Cumbria and the north of England. The catastrophe claimed at least three lives and swamped nearly 19,000 homes.
In such large-scale events, Zurich
said efficient risk management processes should always be applied to allow communities and businesses to maximise protection levels.
“A risk can rarely be reduced to zero so when an insurer’s involvement in a flood solution is put to the test in the ‘real world’ they will discover things that could have been done differently – sometimes even better,” said Conor Brennan, head of general insurance at Zurich
report recommended that in times of major disasters, there should be better communication when providing early warning services to communities.
also said that catastrophic loss must still be avoided even when the first lines of flood defences in cities are breached.
The insurer also suggested the use of better alternatives to sand bags in minimising flood damage.
“Even the best defence can often be over-topped so we as a society must be aware of the protection level we are provided with,” Brennan said.
“If we understand the threats associated with a potential loss and critically, we are ready and able to accept these consequences should an event exceed these protection standards the recovery can be that less painful,” he added.
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