Part 3 of 4

Fostering resilience: closing knowledge and protection gaps

5 minute read
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Early estimates following Hurricane Ian revealed that uninsured flood damage constituted about one quarter of all economic loss. And while Ian exposed a massive flood protection gap in Florida, it is not the only state facing this issue.

US flood insurance

In the US, most household property policies from private insurers exclude flood. Flood insurance in the US is mostly covered by a government insurance programme, which runs through 50 insurers and covers 23 000 communities. But despite an effort to develop the federal programme, five out of six homes in the US are still without flood cover.

Changing flood insurance

Since 2017, however, Swiss Re’s flood solution has given insurers the option to add flood cover to existing policies or offer it as a stand-alone product. The flood solution is powered by Swiss Re’s proprietary flood model, which includes over 400 000 modelled events for the US alone. This insight allows insurers to write risk-adequate pricing for floods.

Chris Carpenter, a flood solution expert and member of the US claims team, explains: “We are at the frontline of changing flood insurance. A few years ago, it wasn’t in a private insurance policy. Today, our clients want to be involved in flood insurance, and that means they need the necessary skills and knowledge.”

Number of US-specific modelled events in Swiss Re’s proprietary flood model


Upskilling our partners

Swiss Re has not only focused on improving flood models, but also on providing extensive training to clients’ claims teams, who will ultimately service policyholders.

Since their insurance policies generally excluded floods claims, these teams often lack insight into how to assess flood damage. Swiss Re’s claims training walks claims teams through various scenarios to identify how specific flood issues fit into policies and how to optimise claims processes.

Swiss Re’s efforts proved especially valuable to clients in Florida. In the months following Hurricane Ian, Chris and the US team helped Swiss Re’s clients process extensive claims for flood damage in the state. “We aim to help bring flood insurance to more homeowners in the US”, notes Chris. “This is just the beginning of our journey.”

Chris Carpenter


Chris Carpenter

Chris Carpenter

Flood Solution Expert

Chris and the flood solutions teams make sure insurers have the skills, products and risk transfer in place to build resilient flood insurance and close protection gaps.

Feature Stories

Explore our Business Report 2022

Financial strength

P&C Re 10-year combined ratio on natural catastrophe business, 2013–2022


P&C Re’s achieved price increases in 1 January 2023 renewals


P&C Re’s portfolio growth in natural catastrophe business at 1 January 2023 renewals


Swiss Re has carefully steered its natural catastrophe business and for P&C Re, achieving an average 10-year combined ratio of 77%. As the global property reinsurance market moved into a “hard market” in 2022, Swiss Re achieved strong price increases and grew its business. 

Building resilience 

Global economic losses from natural catastrophes in 2022 (USD)


Global insured losses from natural catastrophe losses in 2022 (USD)


Estimated global natural catastrophe reinsurance premiums in 2022 (USD)


In 2022 alone, global economic losses from natural catastrophes soared to USD 275 billion. The insurance industry provided USD 125 billion in claims payments. However, the protection gap remained well over 50% of all losses.

Estimated insurance industry claims for Hurricane Ian (USD)


Swiss Re claims for Hurricane Ian (USD)


Natural catastrophe claims in (P&C Re) for 2022 (USD)


Hurricane Ian is estimated to have cost the insurance industry USD 50–65 billion, making it the second-costliest hurricane on record. Swiss Re expects to provide USD 1.3 billion in claims to hundreds of clients for this event.  

Research and development

Swiss Re's proprietary natural catastrophe models Covering 90% of global insured exposures


Global insured exposures covered by Swiss Re's models


Scientists employed by Swiss Re's natural catastrophe modelling team



For its natural catastrophe business, Swiss Re currently employs more than 50 dedicated scientists who maintain around 200 natural catastrophe models. These models provide insights into over 90% of the world’s insured exposures.