One of the worst disasters to hit Europe in the last decade has served as a case study to investigate how satellite images can improve insurance risk modelling. Following the projects end, reinsurance giant Swiss Re has added Earth Observation products to its comprehensive catastrophe database for the first time.
The three-week flooding of the Elbe River in August 2002 saw water levels reach 150-year highs across parts of Central and Eastern Europe. Numerous urban centres including Dresden and Prague were inundated and the resulting insurance claims were in the multi-million Euro range.
The disaster highlighted the need for enhanced river flood modelling, and with dramatic satellite images acquired during the event, led to interest in the view from above provided by Earth Observation satellites to document flood events and better assess future flood danger.
Mariangela D’Acunto | alfa
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