First Global Storm Surge Zones: how insights into today's risks can protect against tomorrow's hurricanes and typhoons

Floods triggered by hurricanes and typhoons are the biggest contributor to the loss of human lives and livelihoods. Global Storm Surge Zones, a first from Swiss Re, show us where these risks actually are. The risk assessment tool helps us prepare and better insure property at risk in new ways. It marks a key development in disaster risk reduction and is very pertinent today on International Day for Disaster Reduction.

The storm surge zones cover the whole globe and identify which urban centers are most at risk. Eight Asian cities are in the top ten, including Tokyo, the Pearl River Delta – and Mumbai, which recently battled major flooding. Other prominent places are Amsterdam, the greater Houston area and Alexandria.

The first global foundation for preventive planning
Designed to support measures to prevent losses and assess risk, the storm surge zones are accessible to all stakeholders via Swiss Re's CatNet® services. The zones create many new possibilities for preventive planning. What's more, they are a basis for offering sustainable insurance to those at risk, so they can get back on their feet once flooding recedes.

For prevention measures we need to know where the risky places are. Our Global Storm Surge Zones makes this possible. Building owners, cities, regions or states can all use this knowledge to help them best prepare. For the public sector, a key question is where funds from tax payers can generate the biggest positive effect. Here the "Economics of Climate Adaption" methodology can help to identify the best cost-effective approach to weather the storms with minimum impact.

Bouncing back once flood waters recede
Preparing for the worst is already a big step to recovery. But every flood causes damage to livelihoods, buildings and businesses. Insurance provides the financial resources to get back to normal quickly. Here the Swiss Re tool also helps because putting price tags on risk is the foundation for offering protection.

Disaster risk reduction is a joint endeavour by many stakeholders to create a more resilient world. This is especially important today in the context of storm surge as rising sea levels are likely to lead to more surges in the future. The Global Storm Surge Zones are our contribution to the endeavour. Knowing what the risk levels are today is the basis to assess future changes. Call us to find out how we can work with you in your region to make the future as storm proof as possible.

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