Lloyd’s, RMS Coastal Flood Study Urges Adapting to Changing Conditions

September 10, 2008

A new report published by Lloyd’s, as part of its “360 project,” and Risk Management Solutions (RMS), warns that “without adaptation, insurance losses from coastal flooding for high-risk properties could double by 2030. The research shows that, with an effective adaptation strategy, future losses could be reduced to below present-day levels with losses for high-risk properties reduced by as much as 70 percent.”

The study – Coastal Communities and Climate Change – “examines the impact of climate change on flood risk at a number of coastal locations in Europe, Asia and the Caribbean, and the benefits of a variety of adaptation measures including flood defenses, elevating property (e.g. on stilts), and changing the property’s characteristics to make it more flood resilient.”

The report is a timely warning that rising sea levels (by at least half a meter -1.5 feet) during this century, will substantially increase the risk of flooding in coastal areas. The report also blames “poor land-use policy and growing urbanization” for exacerbating the risk of flooding in these areas.

Lloyd’s and RMS also suggest “that the insurance industry can play a significant part in encouraging adaptation by policyholders through incentivization. This can be achieved through risk-based pricing where policy premiums are set at a level that more closely reflects the underlying risk to which properties are exposed.”

Speaking at the launch of the report, Lloyd’s Chief Executive, Dr. Richard Ward, commented: “With over half the world’s population expected to live within 100 kilometers [60 miles] of the coast line in 25 years’ time, it is imperative that we address this risk now by starting to adapt. The world cannot insure its way out of climate change, but the insurance industry can play a key role in the fight against it by encouraging adaptation, and if this doesn’t happen insurance will become more expensive and less available.”

RMS Chief ExecutiveHemant Shah, added: “As sea levels rise – along with changes in the frequency, intensity and geography of extreme weather events – risks will increase. Adaptation can reduce future losses, and to be successful, adaptation plans must be location-specific and risk informed. They must also begin today.”

Co-authored by Trevor Maynard, Manager of Emerging Risks at Lloyd’s and Bob Ward and Nicola Patmore at RMS, Coastal Communities and Climate Change is the fourth Lloyd’s 360 risk project report on climate change. The Lloyd’s 360 risk project aims to generate discussion and debate about today’s key risk issues and how best to manage them.

A copy of the full report, which Lloyd’s has produced in conjunction with RMS, can be downloaded by clicking on the following link:

Source: Lloyd’s – www.lloyds.com

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