‘Radical rethink’ on flood preparation needed: CEO

‘Radical rethink’ on flood preparation needed: CEO | Insurance Business America

 ‘Radical rethink’ on flood preparation needed: CEO
Two new research papers examining the global flood resilience program of one insurer has drawn calls for a renewed focus on prevention and mitigation from that company’s CEO.

“There is a need for a radical rethink on the approach to mitigating and preparing for floods,” says Mike Kerner, CEO of general insurance with Zurich. “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 per cent of aid funding went toward emergency response, reconstruction and rehabilitation, and only 13 per cent toward reducing and managing risks.

“The key to enhancing flood resilience,” says Kerner, “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 $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.