According to an article in The Guardian (19 January 2017) insurance payouts for flood clean up and flood damage repairs have seen a massive increase with major flood events more than doubling in Europe since 1980.
European floods in figures
The latest data from the world’s leading reinsurance company, Munich Re, reveals some devastating statistics:
- • There were 30 major flood events requiring insurance payouts in Europe last year (compared to just 12 in 1980)
- • There were 384 flood disasters in 2016 (compared with 58 in 1980)
- • Eight of the 10 deadliest natural catastrophes in Europe since 1980 have taken place in the past 13 years, Munich Re’s data shows, and one of the other two incidents was not weather-related. Phenomena such as earthquakes are included in the company’s figures, but more than 90% of the natural catastrophes logged since 1980 have been climate-related.
- • The rate of extreme weather events appears to be increasing around the world, with 750 natural catastrophes last year, compared with a yearly average of 590 in the past decade and 470 over the last 30 years.
- • EU scientists believe that at least half a million Europeans will be affected by floods every year by 2050, under a “high-end” 4C scenario for global warming that is eerily close to current trends. By 2080, almost a million Europeans could be affected by floods each year if the projection is realised.
- • Last year, Munich Re estimates that $175bn was lost as a result of natural disasters, $50bn of which was covered by insurance policies.
Flood and storm events are biggest dangers
There is a general consensus across the world about the dangers:
- • Munich Re themselves: The Guardian article quotes Ernst Rauch, the head of Munich Re’s corporate climate centre as follows: “Flood events together with wind storm events are the two perils where we have the biggest increase in frequency worldwide.
“In Europe, we’ve seen a steep increase in flood events related to severe convective thunder storms. The frequency of flash floods has increased much more than river floods since 1980.”
“Unfortunately this is in line with climate change. It is amazing how closely these developments fit with the outcomes of climate models.”
- • The Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change: Its fifth assessment report also predicted with “high confidence” that northern Europe would see a rise in extreme rainfall in the decades ahead.
- • The Met Office’s Climate monitoring and attribution team: Its Head, Peter Stott commented: “We have very strong evidence that extreme rainfall events are increasing whichever way around you look at it. That’s simply a result of the physics of how the atmosphere works.”
For every degree of global warming, the earth’s atmosphere is able to hold about 6% more moisture, increasing the energy available to be fed into thunderstorms, Stott said.
- • The Potsdam Institute for Climate Impact Research: “The increase in record-breaking precipitation can only be explained by increasing temperatures caused by climate change,” said Potsdam Hydrologist, Fred Hattermann.
The UK picture
In line with these European trends, British government advisers have warned that floods of the sort that devastated large parts of the UK last winter are becoming the new normal.
This means that businesses and households across the UK need to ensure they protect their properties from the risk of flood damage and be aware of how best to respond in the event of a flood.
Rainbow – the flood restoration
Rainbow International works regularly with insurers, householders, businesses and local governments to provide a range of disaster recovery services.
No challenge is too great for the teams at Rainbow International. Whatever the problem, Rainbow International has a solution and have more than 65 branches across the UK and is on average just 23 miles from any incident in the country. Find your local branch here and choose the branch-finder option which is located on every page, or Alternatively, call our 24 hour helpline on 01623-422488 now to find out how Rainbow could help you following a flood, fire or accidental damage incident.