For the 10th time our annual experts workshop on the topic of best practice in risk management of natural hazards took place and led us to one of the most prestigious universities in Europe, the ETH in Zurich. In cooperation with Bruno Spicher (Allianz Suisse / SVV) and Thomas Hlatky (GRAWE / VVO) another day of presentations and debate was organized with the aim of bringing together representatives of the insurance industry, scientists and public sector experts to focus on the impact of climate change on natural perils. We were also pleased that some partners from our H2020_Insurance network joined.
Best practice in mapping of natural hazards in Europe
The morning was dedicated to viewing the progress with intelligent mapping and zoning of natural hazards in several European countries. In addition to the latest developments from Austria, Germany and Switzerland, practicians from the Swedish Meteorological and Hydrological Institute were present for the first time, offering an overview of their handling of mapping & modeling heavy precipitation and snow pressure. The different national approaches and enhancements in risk modeling became clear and offered the participants the opportunity to adopt different perspectives and to consider them in their own work.
Climate change – modeling and forecasting for more “climate-resilience”
This year’s workshop was headlined by the topic “Influence of climate change on natural hazards”. In his keynote speech, Prof. Dr. David Bresch (ETH Zurich / Meteo Swiss) explained the challenges in the evaluation of climate model results and how adaptation strategies can be derived successfully despite of existing uncertainty corridors in forecasting. This introduction was followed by presentations of recent research on modeling of various natural hazards in the context of climate change. Dr. Peter Salamon (EU Joint Research Center) presented the latest achievements of JRC in flood risk modeling and mapping, Eberhard Faust (Munich Re) the modelled trends in the occurrence of thunderstorms and Prof. Dr. Olivia Romppainen-Martius (University of Bern) showed latest modelled results for changes in heavy precipitation events in a warming climate. The participants and speakers agreed that climate change will steadily change the occurrence and intensity of natural hazards in Europe and around the world. Therefore, the success of scientific modeling must also increasingly be taken into account in the insurance industry.
Controllability of natural hazards through cooperation
Finally, the workshop resulted in fruitful discussions among the participants. Crucial topics were the controversy between data protection and data resolution and the development and use of open-source Cat models. Regarding the subject of public-private partnerships, all attendees from the (re)insurance industry, risk management and science were called upon to intensify the networking and sharing of their competences and needs. In doing so, the attribute of predictability of natural hazard modeling could be enhanced. Further data standardization and data exchange is necessary to achieve progress in the calculation and zoning of natural hazards, as well as the derivation of suitable adaptation strategies. Our work as a partner in the H2020_Insurance project identifies pathways to closer cooperation between the insurance industry and science with the aim of increasing the understanding of climate risks and their insurability and expanding access to risk-relevant information. Therefore, cooperation and networking must be further promoted.