Damage assessment of lake floods: Insured damage to private property during two lake floods in Sweden 2000/2001
This study analyses empirical data on the direct damage impact of lake floods using insurance claims for 195 private buildings. A relationship between lake water levels and insurance payments is established, but the estimated economic effects are small. Building damage also occurs in fringe areas that are not reached by surface water, which indicates a complex interplay between several factors influencing the degree of damage. Large lake floods occur over an extended time span (months). Their duration, as well as possible wind effects, should be taken into account in flood risk assessment. The slow onset of lake floods facilitates implementation of private damage-reducing measures in addition to public mitigation efforts. Private damage-reducing measures decrease the risk of structural damage to buildings, easing recovery for homeowners and society as a whole. Insurance companies can gain from investing in public flood awareness programmes and by providing information to their insurance holders on how to reduce property vulnerability in emergency situations.