LONDON, June 28, 2012 /PRNewswire/ --
Following today's flash floods in Shropshire and with more heavy rainfall predicted, Allianz Your Cover advises homeowners on how damage could be significantly reduced or even avoided.
Water is one of the most precious resources of our planet - we drink it, cook with it, bathe in it and use it for cleaning. It makes up 70 percent of the human body and without it we would soon die of thirst. Yet the substance we rinse our toothbrushes with in the mornings can, in large and uncontrolled quantities very quickly wipe out vehicles and buildings and injure or even kill.
As the largest P&C insurer in the world, Allianz uses complex models to estimate risks and expected damage as precisely as possible. Allianz has dozens of mathematicians, meteorologists and risk analysts working in the fields of risk management, catastrophe modelling and loss research and they distinguish between three types of floods:
- River floods are caused by high water levels in rivers as a result of heavy and long-term rain fall
- Flash floods can occur suddenly and anywhere and they are the result of heavy rainfall over a short period of time
- And then there are storm surges that take place in coastal regions - low pressure areas over the ocean generate high wind speeds that drive flood waves onto the land. Hurricanes are included in this category.
In the past 40 years the average annual costs of insurance claims due to natural catastrophes have multiplied. In the 1970s they were still around 5 billion US dollars worldwide, but by 2010 they were already up to more than 40 billion dollars. And the tendency is still rising.
Climate models of the kind which Allianz experts use, confirm the assumption that higher global temperatures lead to more water vapour in the atmosphere and so to a higher probability of rain fall. However, it is wrong to pin all the blame for the increase in flood catastrophes on climate change. Apart from global warming there are numerous different factors contributing to the increase in the risk of flooding, especially along rivers. Valuable drainage areas are being sealed off by concrete and road construction. This means that more water is flowing straight into the rivers. Soil compaction and land consolidation measures that go hand in hand with intensive agriculture are aggravating the problem.
Andy James from Allianz Your Cover said: "Allianz has accumulated an extensive knowledge of flooding from right across the globe and there are some simple tips that can really help both before and during a flood."
The Allianz Your Cover Flood Tips for Households:
Firstly, Be Prepared:
• Assess your level of risk
• Create an emergency plan for your property and your family - if there is a flood what would you do? Where would you meet up, what would you do if you can't get home?
• Make sure you have your insurance documents and contact details in a safe dry place
• Prepare a "flood pack" to include a torch, first aid kit, warm clothes, blankets and water
• Make sure your mobile phone is fully charged.
When The Flood Hits:
• Listen to local radio or search the internet for up-to-date information on the flooding situation in your area
• If you fear flooding, move your car to a safe area if you can do so safely. Never start the engine if your car is or has been flooded
• If safe to do so, move property from lower floors to higher levels
• Be prepared to turn off essential supplies - gas, electricity and water - at the mains
• Have sandbags ready to block doors - some councils provide these for at risk homes but if not they can normally be obtained from any building supplies retailer
• Listen to the advice of the authorities and follow any instructions they give to leave property
• If you are told to wait for the rescue service you should do as instructed. Flooded streets can carry dangerous items that you cannot see
• Be warned that a small amount of moving water is enough to sweep you off of your feet
• Contact your insurer as soon as possible after a property has been damaged. Record as much of the damage as possible by taking pictures using a camera or smartphone.
For more information about Allianz Your Cover, please visit: http://www.yourcoverinsurance.co.uk
Notes to Editors:
1. Your Cover is a new breed of insurance product, offering cover that customers select to precisely match their own lifestyle and circumstances. Using an easy to use 'Quote and Buy' website, Your Cover makes it simple to design and, obtain a quote, and manage your insurance online. The result of two years' research involving thousands of insurance buyers, Your Cover is a product from Allianz Insurance plc, which is a part of the global Allianz Group.
2. Your Cover is a part of Allianz Retail, which provides a wide range of personal lines products distributed through brokers, retailers, affinity partners, veterinary practices and direct marketing. For more information please visit to http://www.allianzretail.co.uk.
3. Your Cover quotes are available online at http://www.yourcoverinsurance.co.uk.