Strengthening risk resilience in Lishui, China

Lishui is a scenic city in Zhejiang province in eastern China, located in a mountainous area close to the East China Sea. Like many other Chinese cities, it has been growing at rapid speed recently and is developing into a regional centre of tourism. Further developing these urban zones is a strategic goal for the Chinese government, but many of them are located in areas facing high natural disaster risks. As they accumulate greater concentrations of people, assets and technology, these cities become even more vulnerable to the potential effects of extreme weather events, a trend further reinforced by climate change.

Swiss Re has been working closely with the Chinese government as well as regional and local authorities, eg in urban Guangdong and rural Heilongjiang, to develop new, innovative insurance solutions that help build resilience against these risks. They typically involve parametric triggers such as cyclone wind speed or the amount of rainfall to determine payouts, ensuring that funds are quickly available to the insured authorities.

In 2017, we agreed with the city authorities of Lishui and our partner GIZ (Deutsche Gesellschaft für Internationale Zusammenarbeit GmbH, to provide support to an Economics of Climate Adaptation (ECA) study for the city. Swiss Re has many years of experience with these studies, which assess the present and future climaterelated risks faced by a location or region and identify cost-effective adaptation measures. The project was formally kicked off towards the end of 2017.