The ABI: Mitigation is key
Much of what is written on resilience both here in the UK and elsewhere has tended to focus on three of the four elements of the social resilience cycle, namely: Preparedness, Response and Recovery. But we can now add the fourth: Mitigation.
The Association of British Insurers have launched a new report on Climate Adaptation: Guidance on Insurance Issues for New Developments.
The report argues that: Climate change means buildings are increasingly vulnerable to damage caused by severe weather, such as flooding. We all want new sustainable communities and a thriving housing market, but this can only happen if we design, build and locate new properties to withstand changing climate.
So the ABI has published a set of guidelines which it hopes will help: Developers and planners to build properties to withstand the impacts of climate change. We encourage the building industry to develop a kite mark scheme, so that buyers and insurers can easily see if a building has been designed to be climate-resilient. Avoiding high flood-risk areas, and building better protected buildings will enable flood insurance to remain widely available and competitively priced.
This sounds like a sensible way of mitigating the effects of climate change in the future by encouraging the building industry to think about making new homes climate resilient. But I can't help thinking that the guidance for the building industry is a minor issue compared with insuring households. This presents an altogether more difficult and complex problem, not least because so many of the challenges are related to human behaviour. The total cost of the 2007 floods was estimated to be £3bn. Looking at the ABI's website (and the websites of insurance companies) there is still much to do.