Dr. Claire Souch, director of model management at Risk Management Solutions, has commented on the recently issued report of the Pitt Review of flood risks in the UK.
She indicated that while “the report recognizes the need to address surface water flood risk, there seems to be insufficient focus on flooding from small rivers and tributaries. Responsibility for these ‘ordinary watercourses’ should be assumed by the Environment Agency rather than local authorities, so the risk is managed more consistently and effectively.”
Souch added that “this year’s flooding [See IJ web site - http://www.insurancejournal.com/news/international/2007/07/24/82012.htm] was partly caused by small rivers overflowing, so it would be a glaring oversight to exclude this factor in any flood risk management plan.”
She pointed out to flood experts that “many lessons can be learned from the insurance industry’s approach to estimating flood risk, and the tools it employs could be put to much wider use in emergency planning. The report highlights the importance of understanding how a single flood can cause widespread devastation, as well as the impact of simultaneous events. The insurance industry is years ahead in taking this ‘event-based’ approach to risk management and could be a key player in developing the report’s recommendations into realistic plans together with the Government and Environment Agency.”
Souch stressed that “flood risk in the UK is an unfortunate reality, and we welcome the increased attention that this report brings to the subject. But it’s crucial that we go beyond rhetoric and start putting an effective risk management program into place, bringing together the expertise that exists in this area. With the rapid growth in housing and development showing no signs of abating, and the daunting prospects of future climate change, flood risk should be a major consideration in planning across the country.”
Source: Risk management Solutions – www.rms.com.