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Schwartz Pourrabbani Marla (2020). 15 years after Katrina: The tale of a changing risk landscape.

Bibliographic details:

Schwartz Pourrabbani Marla (2020). 15 years after Katrina: The tale of a changing risk landscape. Swiss Reinsurance Company



Though New Orleans’ hurricane exposure and vulnerability have changed since Katrina, hurricane wind and storm surge continue to present a key risk to the Gulf Coast region, despite extensive mitigation efforts. Reviews of historical natural hazards, such as this one, are crucial for understanding today’s risk and for validating probabilistic catastrophe loss modelling and related assessments.

The sample scenarios in this report illustrate how the risk landscape has changed in the last 15 years due to changing hazard, exposure and protection factors. It is crucial to consider such factors when evaluating the current risk landscape or in any modelling exercise at the local level. Additionally, the scenarios here demonstrate the effectiveness of natural-hazard mitigation efforts and flood defences, as well as the role of re/insurance in enabling resilience.

From the article:

If Hurricane Katrina were to hit the US in 2020 with the same wind and storm surge as 2005, but with current exposure information and updated flood protection and vulnerability assumptions, the privately insured losses in the US alone could rise to 60bn (excluding offshore losses in the Gulf of Mexico or losses to the NFIP). This is true, despite the city currently only having 80% of the population it did in 2005. The total economic toll from such an event could likely exceed USD 175bn. These figures illustrate that despite New Orleans’ lower population and strengthened flood protection system, economic losses from natural hazards like Katrina are expected to continue to increase.