NEW DELHI, India. - November 02, 2016 RMS, the world’s leading catastrophe risk management firm, has outlined how the latest modeling advances could help India become more resilient to the natural disasters which cause so much economic and human damage in the country. The company is also giving details of its new peril risk models that will enable India’s insurance industry to expand its coverage and help support greater resilience to the principal perils of earthquake and flood.
Dr. Robert Muir-Wood, chief research officer of RMS and a world authority on catastrophe risk reduction, today said that “India has the highest number of people exposed to flood risk of any country worldwide, and the fastest increase in flood risk from development and climate change.”
Dr. Muir-Wood was speaking at the Asian Ministerial Conference on Disaster Risk Reduction in New Delhi, organized in collaboration with the United Nations Office for Disaster Risk Reduction. In a session today he explored how private investments can reduce future risks from catastrophes and climate change across the region, and in tomorrow’s presentation he’ll also discuss how risk modeling can be applied to measure real progress in disaster risk reduction.
Dr. Muir-Wood added: “More than half of India by area is vulnerable to earthquakes, and almost forty cities are at particularly high risk. The rapid expansion in population and development in India is moving too fast to ensure adequate standards of protection. The widespread damage from earthquake to ordinary buildings recently seen in neighbouring Nepal, could equally be the outcome in many cities in India.”
Commenting on events such as the 2001 Gujarat earthquake, the 2005 Mumbai floods and those in Chennai last year, Dr. Muir-Wood stressed that the protection gap in India must be closed.
“In the developing world, more than 95 percent of the economic losses from natural disasters are uninsured. We need to close this gap so that people and business can quickly get back on their feet when disaster strikes. High quality and high resolution risk models are a key first step in helping drive the expansion of catastrophe insurance.”
The contribution from RMS to the debate on India’s resilience comes just months after Prime Minister Narendra Modi unveiled India’s first ever National Disaster Management Plan for the prevention, mitigation and management of natural disasters.
Catastrophe modeling can help expand Indian insurance industry
Dr. Muir-Wood’s speech at the UN conference comes ahead of a major conference to be hosted by RMS in partnership with General Insurance Corporation of India (GIC Re). The event In:Site India, being held in Mumbai on November 9, 2016, will feature global catastrophe risk experts who will discuss how catastrophe modeling can support the expansion of the Indian insurance industry by giving confidence in how risk is priced and portfolios are managed.
At the conference RMS modelers will outline the company’s plans to release its first fully probabilistic flood risk model for India in 2018, in addition to its India flood hazard maps in 2017. The maps will highlight, at high precision, the areas of India which are vulnerable to floods even down to the level of individual streets and buildings. The tool will include the harder-to-model flash flooding from intense rainfall which, as Mumbai showed in 2005, can be catastrophic – and also costly for the insurance industry in the principal cities where insurance penetration is high.
Notes for Editors
The In:Site India conference, hosted by RMS in partnership with GIC Re, takes place in Mumbai on Wednesday November 9 with a number of RMS catastrophe risk experts available for interview, including RMS co-founder and CEO Hemant Shah.