‘Radical rethink’ on flood preparation needed: CEO

‘Radical rethink’ on flood preparation needed: CEO

‘Radical rethink’ on flood preparation needed: CEO An insurer’s examination of global flood resilience measures, which emphasise pre-mitigation, could present lessons for Australia too.

Zurich Insurance Group has released two new research papers examining global flood resilience, which have led it to make calls for a renewed focus on prevention and mitigation.

Group general insurance CEO Mike Kerner said:  “There is a need for a radical rethink on the approach to mitigating and preparing for floods. We need to focus more on pre-event mitigation, as opposed to focusing almost solely on recovery. Because we know that ‘after a flood’ is really just ‘before the next flood.’”

The Zurich Insurance Group’s two papers focus both on successful measures used recently, and the future impact severe flooding may have. One report, which was produced as part of a multi-year collaboration with the Institute for Applied Systems Analysis and the Wharton School at the University of Pennsylvania, focuses on how mass urbanization and climate change may worsen the impact of floods.

Enhancing community flood resilience: a way forward, suggests that in the past two decades, nearly 87% of aid funding went toward emergency response, reconstruction and rehabilitation, and only 13% toward reducing and managing risks.

“The key to enhancing flood resilience,” Kerner said, “lies in increasing our understanding of the full breadth and scale of the risks and how to best protect against them.”

In addition, the report points out that for every US$100 spent on development aid, only 40 cents has been invested in defending that aid from the impact of disaster.

Zurich is testing a proposed framework to measure communities’ ability to withstand floods and improve resilience by collecting data in countries prone to flooding including Indonesia, Mexico, Nepal, and Peru.

The second report is a retrospective of last year’s massive flooding in central Europe, particularly Germany, Austria and Switzerland. That report highlights some successful measures that were used to increase flood protection, such as increasing the height of a dam in Germany.
  • Jelenko Dragisic 24/06/2014 5:33:58 PM
    Well done by sharing that kind of critical information about the disparity between what we tend to invest upfront vs the recovery cost. The shift toward resilience approach which is about ensuring that business, city, community, regions etc can continue to grow after a disaster is far more likely to achieve balanced, sustainable and above all resilient society. The unfortunate fact is that public at large is not well informed about the way things work. Most people still remain critically unprepared to deal with disasters let alone be able to exploit that kind of disruption for growth and then thrive. Recovery work tends to be a little bit of 'repair' while in fact it should be far more than that. Business community such as insurance industry must apply broader pressure on policy makers who are well aware of those facts but remain largely wilfully lethargic. That is simply not sustainable for business, community and society (anywhere in the world) at large.
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