Posted on February 13, 2023
Floods are one of the most frequent and costly natural disasters. According to the SwissRe Institute[1 ], natural catastrophes caused an estimated USD 115 billion of insured losses in 2022 to date, which is well above the 10-year average of USD 81 billion. Even in the United States or Europe, where insurance penetration is typically high, flood risk is seriously underinsured. To put this into context, it is estimated that Hurricane Ian alone caused insured losses of USD 50–65 billion, making it the single largest loss-causing event of 2022.
Multiple factors drive this steep increase in losses, including urbanisation and climate change. The earth’s lower atmosphere is becoming warmer and moister, which increases the severity of storms and floods. We see heavier rainfalls, rivers overflow, and flash flooding affecting areas where there isn’t generally a water body. Alongside these climate-related challenges, we’ve got aspects that relate to the world we live in – where we build and house people.
As these factors increase society’s vulnerability to floods, ICEYE’s observation data became essential for improving resilience, disaster response, and better flood risk management in 2022.