Risky cities

A deep dive on exposed metropolises

The impact of extreme weather is painful and expensive. This is because the world population and asset concentrations are increasing, especially in the cities of the developing world, many of which lie either on the coast or on major waterways close to it.

Browse through Swiss Re's risky cities series.



Rome is steeped in 2500 years of history and is one of the world’s most celebrated cultural centres. What is perhaps not generally known is that this city is also exposed to a high risk of flooding and earthquakes.



Istanbul is Turkey‘s powerhouse, generating more than 40% of the country‘s GDP. The 14 million people in its metropolitan area live under the constant threat of severe earthquakes. And the next one could very well be just around the corner.


Los Angeles

The Southern California Earthquake Center says that the probability of a magnitude 6.7 or larger earthquake striking Los Angeles over the next 30 years is 67%. So it's vital that LA is able to rapidly mobilize all the resources necessary to bounce back following a disaster of this nature.


Mexico City

Mexico City, a metropolis of around 21 million people is plagued by regular summer flooding which makes life utterly miserable for the city’s inhabitants, just one recent example being the inundation caused by Tropical Storm Ernesto in 2012. It is also exposed to substantial earthquake risk.



Most of the world’s riskiest cities are situated in East Asia. Besides being exposed to tropical cyclones and flooding, many cities in the region are also threatened by seismic activity, including Tokyo, Taipei and Manila.



Many urban hot spots lie on the coast or on major waterways close to it. Bangkok – which the government wants to see become “Asia’s capital” by 2032 – is a case in point. Using Swiss Re’s risk models and detailed hazard data available in CatNet®, we have analysed the potential impact of flood risk on Bangkok and its surrounding region. 

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