Policy ForumDisaster Management

Redesigning Flood Insurance

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Science  22 Jul 2011:
Vol. 333, Issue 6041, pp. 408-409
DOI: 10.1126/science.1202616

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Insurance and government assistance play central roles in ensuring economic and social resilience in the aftermath of catastrophes in developed countries. Around the globe in the past decade, disasters have led to unprecedented claims payments to insured victims, and government relief to aid the uninsured and the affected communities has risen to historic levels (13). Increases in population, property values, and concentration of assets in hazard-prone areas are primary causes (2). Recent climate studies indicate we should also expect more extreme weather-related events in the future (46). The cumulative expected exposure of the U.S. government to catastrophes over the next 75 years could reach $7 trillion (7).