A better view on natural hazard risk

By simply entering their address on a web page, any user can receive an immediate view of the risk for four common natural hazards at their home’s location: flood, storm, wildfire and earthquake. This individual assessment is based on the tools Allianz uses to evaluate and calculate natural hazard risk around the world, but in a way that is easy to understand and act upon. As a very first step, the tool is designed to create awareness what potential risks homeowners face. Additionally, checklists and explainer videos around preventative measures provide guidance on what they can do to protect themselves and their property. 
image from the risk checker for location dependent risks
Risk checker for location dependent risks
“With the help of the GloRiA tool, users can form their own picture of their risk situation with regard to natural hazards,” says Sibylle Steimen, Managing Directory Advisory & Services at Allianz Re. Sibylle heads a team of over 40 scientists dedicated to understanding natural hazard risks. Their work forms the scientific foundation of the tool. “Research has shown that the subjective perception of risk and the actual risk are often not congruent. We remember a recent catastrophe, but not something that happened 100 years ago, or we assess the event as less serious,” Sibylle explains. The new tool, GloRiA, uses an easy-to-understand risk scale to provide an objective assessment of the hazard at the user’s location. The user can then decide for themselves what the right choice is for them: accept the risk and at best set aside money for the event of a disaster, take out insurance cover, and/or protect themselves better with the resilience measures suggested in the GloRiA tool, e.g. by implementing structural measures such as flood windows or adjusting their behavior in an event of a disaster.
image of the GloRiA tool to verify your risk situation
GloRiA tool to verify your risk situation

The GloRiA tool is based on our globally valid Allianz natural hazard maps. The foundation for these maps are elaborately derived models that are in turn based on vast amounts of data that stem from long-term measurements. These maps can model for any point on earth the probability and intensity with which, for example, certain flood heights, wind speeds or earthquake intensities could occur. 

“We use the hazard maps as a basis to see how vulnerable a property is for which we provide natural hazard insurance coverage. We then relate the values of the hazard maps to the loss amounts of past natural catastrophes and can derive how high the insurance premiums need to be in order to be able to pay for future damages,” Sibylle explains. These maps are therefore very closely linked to our insurance products and are extremely important for appropriately managing risk.

Fortunately, we don't have to expect the worst effects at every point on the planet. A quake of the magnitude we saw in Turkey in the spring of 2023 is hardly to be expected in Germany. Hailstorms like in Italy and Bavaria this summer are not as likely in the UK – all this knowledge is stored in our hazard maps. “At every point on earth there are certain hazards that can be relevant for an insurance customer,” says Sibylle, “and we would like to point this out to our customers and any potential user with the GloRiA tool.”

In many places, climate change could change the frequency and / or intensity of certain natural hazards, such as floods or tropical storms, so looking into the future is just as important as understanding today's risk.  In the next version of GloRiA, the tool will show how the risk of certain natural hazards may change as a result of climate change. 

“To be clear, things will not always get worse,” says Sibylle. “In some places, the risk for a hazard will remain the same, in others it may even decrease somewhat”. And for earthquakes, climate change has no effect at all. What is certain, however, is that the effects of climate change will increase the uncertainty surrounding exposure to natural hazards. Insurance can therefore be a good solution to protect yourself and your property against the unexpected.

Please also read the interview with Nicola Ranger, Head of the Resilience and International Development Program at the Environmental Change Institute and Executive Director of the Oxford Martin Systemic Resilience Program, and Sibylle Steimen, Managing Director Advisory & Services at Allianz Re. Both argue for a stronger focus on climate resilience.

Kerstin Reinisch, Head of Non-Motor Retail, Allianz Versicherungs-AG, explains how widely the risk assessment tool is already being used in Germany.
picture of Kerstin Reinisch, Head of Non-Motor Retail, Allianz Versicherungs-AG

How long have you been using the “Wohnort-Risikobewertung”-Tool in Germany and how much is it being used?

The tool has been in use since March 2022. It has already been accessed over 55,000 times - and that's in Germany alone. The tool is now being rolled out globally as part of the Pre-warning & Prevention initiative driven by the Customer Experience Team at GSMD. It does not only provide information on the individual risk of various elementary hazards, such as floods or storms and hail, but also gives tips on precautionary measures.

Does the risk assessment help to raise awareness of natural hazards?

Yes, the tool is excellent for this purpose. I get the individual hazards for my address or a place where I might want to build a new home graphically in a clear manner. At a glance, I can see how high my risk is and what I should be particularly careful about. And with further clicks I get interesting information, e.g. what the most expensive damage was in the last few years in the immediate region. And with our concrete tips, such as installing pressure-tight windows and doors to protect against flooding or regularly checking trees in the vicinity against storm damage, we also want to raise awareness of precautionary measures. After all, the combination of insuring when it matters and promoting prevention is the best way to live up to our purpose "We secure your future".

The Allianz Group is one of the world's leading insurers and asset managers with around 125 million* private and corporate customers in nearly 70 countries. Allianz customers benefit from a broad range of personal and corporate insurance services, ranging from property, life and health insurance to assistance services to credit insurance and global business insurance. Allianz is one of the world’s largest investors, managing around 746 billion euros** on behalf of its insurance customers. Furthermore, our asset managers PIMCO and Allianz Global Investors manage about 1.8 trillion euros** of third-party assets. Thanks to our systematic integration of ecological and social criteria in our business processes and investment decisions, we are among the leaders in the insurance industry in the Dow Jones Sustainability Index. In 2023, over 157,000 employees achieved total business volume of 161.7 billion euros and an operating profit of 14.7 billion euros for the group.
* Including non-consolidated entities with Allianz customers.
** As of March 31, 2024.
As with all content published on this site, these statements are subject to our cautionary note regarding forward-looking statements:
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