Aon Benfield Guide: All You Need to Know on Volcanoes, Landslides, Tsunamis

July 26, 2011

The Aon Benfield UCL Hazard Centre has launched an introductory guide -“Getting to Grips with Non-Modelled Perils” – on volcanoes, landslides and tsunamis, which highlights the important characteristics that global insurers should know and consider when assessing their risks.

It focuses on “hazard and vulnerability,” and examines these three “key non-modelled perils to understand how they contribute to insurance losses and link to modelled perils.”

Recent events include the tsunamis generated by the Japan and Chile earthquakes, plus the disruption caused by the Icelandic and Chilean volcanic eruptions. These are “recent illustrations of why insurers need to better understand how non-modelled perils could impact their portfolios.”

Aon Benfield described some of the key contents of the guide in a press bulletin as follows:
Volcanic Hazards
Volcanoes erupt at long enough intervals for populations and businesses to risk settling within range. A volcanic event may not have triggered large insured losses recently, but the potential remains.
• The insurance industry should focus on volcanic hotspots, such as Japan, New Zealand, North West U.S., Chile, Iceland and Italy
• At least 1,500 active volcanoes have been identified on Earth.
• Almost 10 percent of the world’s population lives within range of an active volcano but only 1 in 10 are monitored.

Landslide Hazards
The potential for damaging landslides in urban areas exists throughout the world, particularly where construction is increasingly using vulnerable slopes for new development.
• Landslides are the most widespread geological hazard, common in young mountain belts and along coastlines.
• Precipitation, earthquakes or land-use changes usually trigger them; they are often reactivated.
• Landslide hotspots include western parts of North and South America, the Alps and Himalayas, the Caribbean and South East Asia.

Tsunami Hazards
High levels of tsunami damage from the Tohoku Japan earthquake highlight the insurance industry’s need to understand more about this peril.
• Around 80 percent of damaging tsunamis are produced by earthquakes, but other significant sources include volcanic eruptions, volcanic island collapses and submarine landslides.
• Although tsunami sources are concentrated around the Pacific and in South East Asia, tsunami risks may be disproportionately high on flat-lying coasts around other ocean basins, such as the Atlantic and the Mediterranean.

Source: Aon Benfield

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