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Low flood insurance coverage spells danger as climate crisis deepens

Low flood insurance coverage spells danger as climate crisis deepens
Low flood insurance coverage spells danger as climate crisis deepens

A flood victim stands amid damage to her house, following rains and floods during the monsoon season, in Nowshera, Pakistan August 31, 2022. REUTERS/Fayaz Aziz/File Photo

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Sep 1 (Reuters) – Insured flood losses doubled to $80 billion globally between 2011 and 2020 from a decade earlier, while insurance penetration held steady at just 18% , according to the Swiss Re Institute’s flood-focused economic analysis report.

Climate change has led to an increased likelihood of heavy, high-intensity rains and short-duration floods, and an increase in flood-related losses as a result, but insurance coverage has remained dangerously low.

This year, heavy rains have triggered floods that have inundated cities in China and South Korea and disrupted water and power supplies in India, while drought has endangered farmers’ crops across the country. ‘Europe.

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Torrential rains and floods also submerged a third of Pakistan. The United Nations appealed for help for the country this week for what it described as an “unprecedented climate disaster”. Read more

The United States has also faced flooding in recent weeks and months, particularly in Kentucky and Texas. Such events highlight the insurance gap.

“Recent events in Kentucky, Mississippi and Texas remind us of how devastating flooding can be to our lives,” Keith Wolfe, US P&C chairman, Swiss Re (SRENH.S) told Reuters.

“Although the market for private flood insurance has gained ground in recent years, too many people are still uninsured against floods and the majority of those affected by these events are uninsured, which lets them pick up the pieces at their own expense.”

The potential for growth in insurance coverage is huge, according to Swiss Re. Nearly 40% of the US population lives in coastal counties and 10% in floodplains.

Better data and sophisticated risk mapping and modeling enable more accurate flood risk quantification and create room for growth for the private sector flood insurance market, according to the report.

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Reporting by Noor Zainab Hussain in Bengaluru and Carolyn Cohn in London; Editing by Shinjini Ganguli

Our standards: The Thomson Reuters Trust Principles.

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