Economic Losses from Disasters in 2017 Estimated at $306 Billion

Flooding Causes Annual Economic Losses of About $15 Billion Per Year in the U.S.
Audio: 
Keith Wolfe, President of US Property & Casualty, Swiss Re

(Armonk, New York, Wednesday, January 17, 2018) – Total economic losses from natural and man-made disasters in 2017 are estimated to be $306 billion dollars, up from $188 billion in 2016. The U.S. and Caribbean were hit hardest by natural catastrophes, including by hurricanes Harvey, Irma and Maria. And a large proportion of these losses centered around flooding.

Flooding causes annual economic losses of about $15 billion per year in the U.S., but relatively few households are insured for flood. Climate change, extreme weather and continued urbanization mean financial losses will continue to grow. But advanced flood risk modelling technology can help with this problem.

Keith Wolfe, president of US Property & Casualty at Swiss Re, explains.

SOUNDBITE #1:

DESPITE THE KNOWN DANGERS OF FLOODING ACROSS THE U-S, LESS THAN ONE IN SIX AMERICAN HOMES HAVE FLOOD INSURANCE. WE CAN CHANGE THAT. PRIVATE INSURERS HAVE SAT ON THE SIDELINES FOR TOO LONG BECAUSE IT WAS THOUGHT THAT FLOOD RISK, WHICH IS UNPREDICTABLE AND POTENTIALLY DEVASTATING, WAS 'UNINSURABLE.’ BUT RECENT BREAKTHROUGHS HAVE CHANGED THE NARRATIVE. FLOOD RISK MODELS HAVE ADVANCED CONSIDERABLY IN THE LAST SEVERAL YEARS MEANING THERE'S AN OPPORTUNITY FOR PRIVATE INSURERS TO OFFER COVER AND FINANCIALLY PROTECT PEOPLE.

SOUNDBITE #2:

IN OUR EYES, IT'S TIME FOR PRIVATE INSURERS TO FINALLY ADDRESS THE FLOOD PROTECTION GAP AND OFFER PEOPLE FINANCIAL PROTECTION THAT WILL ENABLE THEM TO GET BACK ON THEIR FEET WHEN DISASTER STRIKES. WHILE INSURANCE WON’T PREVENT FLOODS, IT WILL DRASTICALLY ENHANCE THE ABILITY OF FAMILIES AND THEIR COMMUNITIES TO QUICKLY RECOVER FROM THE ECONOMIC IMPACTS OF FLOODING. PRIVATE INSURERS CAN ALSO LIFT THE BURDEN FROM STRETCHED LOCAL AND FEDERAL BUDGETS.

For more information, please visit www.swissre.com/USflood.

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