Articles | Volume 10, issue 12
03 Dec 2010
 | 03 Dec 2010

Risk-based damage potential and loss estimation of extreme flooding scenarios in the Austrian Federal Province of Tyrol

M. Huttenlau, J. Stötter, and H. Stiefelmeyer

Abstract. Within the last decades serious flooding events occurred in many parts of Europe and especially in 2005 the Austrian Federal Province of Tyrol was serious affected. These events in general and particularly the 2005 event have sensitised decision makers and the public. Beside discussions pertaining to protection goals and lessons learnt, the issue concerning potential consequences of extreme and severe flooding events has been raised. Additionally to the general interest of the public, decision makers of the insurance industry, public authorities, and responsible politicians are especially confronted with the question of possible consequences of extreme events. Answers thereof are necessary for the implementation of preventive appropriate risk management strategies. Thereby, property and liability losses reflect a large proportion of the direct tangible losses. These are of great interest for the insurance sector and can be understood as main indicators to interpret the severity of potential events. The natural scientific-technical risk analysis concept provides a predefined and structured framework to analyse the quantities of affected elements at risk, their corresponding damage potentials, and the potential losses. Generally, this risk concept framework follows the process steps hazard analysis, exposition analysis, and consequence analysis. Additionally to the conventional hazard analysis, the potential amount of endangered elements and their corresponding damage potentials were analysed and, thereupon, concrete losses were estimated. These took the specific vulnerability of the various individual elements at risk into consideration. The present flood risk analysis estimates firstly the general exposures of the risk indicators in the study area and secondly analyses the specific exposures and consequences of five extreme event scenarios. In order to precisely identify, localize, and characterize the relevant risk indicators of buildings, dwellings and inventory, vehicles, and individuals, a detailed geodatabase of the existing stock of elements and values was established on a single object level. Therefore, the localized and functional differentiated stock of elements was assessed monetarily on the basis of derived representative mean insurance values. Thus, well known difference factors between the analysis of the stock of elements and values on local and on regional scale could be reduced considerably. The spatial join of the results of the hazard analysis with the stock of elements and values enables the identification and quantification of the elements at risk and their corresponding damage potential. Thereupon, Extreme Scenario Losses (ESL) were analysed under consideration of different vulnerability approaches which describe the individual element's specific susceptibility. This results in scenario-specific ranges of ESL rather than in single values. The exposure analysis of the general endangerment in Tyrol identifies (i) 105 330 individuals, (ii) 20 272 buildings and 50 157 dwellings with a corresponding damage potential of approx. EUR 20 bn. and (iii) 62 494 vehicles with a corresponding damage potential of EUR 1 bn. Depending on the individual extreme event scenarios, the ESL solely to buildings and inventory vary between EUR 0.9–1.3 bn. for the scenario with the least ESL and EUR 2.2–2.5 bn. for the most serious scenarios. The correlation of the private property losses to buildings and inventory with further direct tangible loss categories on the basis of investigation after the event in 2005, results in potential direct tangible ESL of up to EUR 7.6 bn. Apart from the specific study results a general finding shows that beside the further development of modelling capabilities and scenario concepts, the key to considerably decrease uncertainties of integral flood risk analyses is the development and implementation of more precise methods. These are to determine the stock of elements and values and to evaluate the vulnerability or susceptibility of affected structures to certain flood characteristics more differentiated.