VVO: In Austria, around 1 billion euros in damage is recorded every year

8 June 2023 — Daniela GHETU
While the increase in natural disasters and extreme weather events is obvious, preparations for them in Austria are rather sluggish and the risks are still being greatly underestimated Christian Eltner, General Secretary of the Austrian Insurance Association VVO stated recently.

Moreover, time is of the essence and mitigating the risks is a top priority, alarmed experts from the insurance industry and climate and prevention research at a joint press conference. Yet, demands from the insurance industry for nationwide natural catastrophe solutions have so far not been supported by politicians but should be implemented promptly.

Although damages worth, in average, EUR 1 billion are recorded in Austria every year, the perception of the risk from natural hazards as well as the awareness of the dangers varies greatly locally in Austria and is generally rather low. A striking number of Austrians (62%) believe that it is the exclusive task of the authorities to protect them from natural hazards. Every second person interviewed states that they have no information on how to protect themselves against natural hazards on an individual level. Only 50% of the people questioned know the meaning of civil defense alarms or know what to do in the event of an alarm. The damage indicated in the survey relates to damage to open spaces (44%) or directly to the house or apartment (39%).

A recent KFV study shows that there "is still a clear need to catch up when it comes to preventing natural hazards. The population's need for information and education is also very high."