The German Chamber of Industry and Commerce (DIHK) has called on regional and national authorities to show flexibility and agility to help with the reconstruction process following the recent catastrophic flooding.
Several other interested bodies such as the German Insurance Association (GDV) have also called for better planning, construction codes and improved risk management for future construction projects, in light of the worsening impact of climate change in the country.
DIHK president Peter Adrian said, “We now need quick and easy solutions.” He said the companies in the flood areas of western and southern Germany need clarity very quickly on the way forward. “Often long, complex and overly bureaucratic planning processes need to be addressed.”
DIHK said, “Based on the experience of previous floods, it is advisable to take into account climate-adapted, sustainable flood protection on the one hand and site development on the other. In concrete terms, this means that all relevant actors – from urban and regional planning to environmental and water protection, and to the local companies – should shape the reconstruction process together from the start.”
The GDV recently confirmed that the losses suffered so far this year, mainly from flooding and hail, will make 2021 the costliest natural hazard 12 months for German insurers in at least 50 years. The total insured bill is expected to now reach at least EUR11.5bn ($13.6bn).
Nationwide, nearly all residential buildings are covered for windstorm and hail. However, only 46% of homeowners have protection against other natural hazards such as heavy rain and floods, said the GDV.
Action is needed to tackle this problem at state level to help promote loss prevention, risk management and potentially mandatory cover according to GDV.
GDV managing director Jörg Asmussen said, “Together with our member companies, we will be presenting ideas by autumn on how the spread of natural hazard insurance can be significantly increased at risk-based prices. It is also important to reach those who, despite the recent flood disaster, do not want to believe that they too can be affected by natural hazards.”
The GDV said, however, mandatory flood insurance without robust incentives for better loss prevention and risk management will not work.
“As a single instrument (mandatory insurance), we reject it because it takes away the incentive to insure against flood and other extreme weather risks. At best, it would make sense if it were integrated into a new overall concept for land and building planning, and disaster protection,” said Mr Asmussen.
“It is encouraging that nearly half of building owners now have protection against other natural hazards. But for the rest, they should review and adjust their insurance coverage,” he said. M