The event brought together senior representatives from Guy Carpenter, Flood Re and the UK's Environment Agency, as well as the wider flood risk management community. Speakers addressed how flood-related mitigation and recovery plans spanning multiple critical stakeholders must be introduced to provide a more sustainable and economically viable approach to resilience across the UK.
Julie Foley, Director of Flood Risk Strategy and National Adaptation at the Environment Agency, highlighted the steps currently being taken by the Agency to boost flood resilience:
"Fundamentally, we need to get better at planning and adapting to the unavoidable impacts of climate change. We are updating our guidance so that all new flood and coastal defences in England are designed to account for a range of climate impacts, including from a 4 degrees Celsius rise in global temperature by 2100. We are also refreshing our strategic approach to tidal flood risk management for London and the Thames Estuary to the end of the century."
Andy Bord, Chief Executive Officer of Flood Re, called for a more all-encompassing approach to flood risk management that extended beyond more effective flood defences and into the wider built environment:
"Over the next 30 years, climate change will increase UK annual flood losses by up to 80 percent. Whilst GBP 1.1 billion a year of flood damage is being prevented by the UK's existing network of river barriers and coastal defences, it is not enough to just build higher defences to hold back the water. We need to learn to adapt. It is critical that flood considerations are prioritised when making planning decisions and developing new homes or retrofitting existing homes. Such considerations are also central for householders at high risk of flooding. By taking action now I believe we can adapt and 'build back better' - an approach we have been advocating for over four years. This is what must happen to ensure the built environment is more prepared for and resilient to future flooding."
Emma Raven, Head of Research and Development at leading flood modelling company JBA Risk Management, said:
"It is critical that we are able to access flood models that fully incorporate climate change science. Our recent modelling, for example, suggests that over 1 million more properties in Great Britain may be at risk to a 200-year flood event by 2040, under a realistic warming scenario. It's a very interesting time for flood modellers, and the challenges are sparking some innovative approaches."
Charles Whitmore, International Public Sector Lead at Guy Carpenter, said:
"More recently, the theme of resilience has gained increasing resonance in discussions around public sector derisking, and we believe that sessions such as this are essential in helping all stakeholders to further understand the benefits of improved risk mitigation measures to move towards risk-based pricing. The (re)insurance market needs to move faster to embed risk mitigation and adaptation measures in the insurance product and thereby incentivise consumers to own more of this process."
The virtual event, which was attended by almost 300 delegates, also included three panel discussions:
- "Flood modelling and climate change: the adequacy of cat models for assessing the impact of climate change"
- "Building development, flood risk and climate change"
- "Insurers' role in improving flood resilience, given climate change"