New tsunami hazard maps for Southeast Asia available in CatNet®

The latent risk posed by tsunamis as large natural disasters, especially in High Growth Markets, has been a blind spot to the public and the insurance industry for too long. CatNet, Swiss Re's hazard mapping tool, now features tsunami hazard maps for one of the world's most vulnerable areas.

In December 2004, the beaches of Banda Aceh, Indonesia and Phuket, Thailand along with many other places bordering the Indian Ocean were swept away by a devastating tsunami wave that reached 30 meters in height. This tragic event killed more than 200,000 people and marked the beginning of an increasing public awareness of tsunamis. At the same time, the insurance industry started to recognize tsunamis as a loss driver in large earthquake events.

Go further with CatNet®

A screenshot of the Banda Aceh province from CatNet®, Swiss Re's online natural hazard information and mapping system. Click thumbnail for larger view.

Previously an underestimated natural peril, the need to better understand the risks and potential economic consequences of tsunamis was further highlighted when large earthquakes and subsequent tsunamis struck the Chilean coast in February 2010 and the Japanese region of Tohoku in March 2011.

Events such as the ones described above stress the importance of tsunami modelling, something that Swiss Re's natural catastrophe experts have been doing systematically since 2011. The maps resulting from Swiss Re's Tsunami model are now featured in CatNet®, Swiss Re's hazard mapping tool.

Sharing knowledge, raising awareness

Probabilistic tsunami models are a crucial part of our earthquake modelling in potentially affected regions. Swiss Re makes these maps available to interested stakeholders to raise awareness and improve understanding of tsunami risk. This release is the continuation of a thread started in September 2012 when we offered the first fully fledged tsunami model outputs for Japan.

The new maps categorize tsunami risk covering the potentially exposed coastlines around the Pacific and Indian oceans.  A layer of risk categories shows potential tsunami hotspots on a high resolution grid, providing enlightening insights into some of the most at risk areas worldwide. In the current version, the hazard maps are available for South East Asia, Australia, and New Zealand. Going forward, the covered area will be expanded to all coastlines surrounding the Pacific Ocean.

Published 20 January 2014

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