Data visualisation is providing greater understanding of the social, economic and environmental cost of natural disasters as well as highlighting areas of greatest vulnerability.

The Challenge

Understanding the cost of natural disasters

Over the past decade the average economic losses from natural disasters stands at $US190 billion per year, according to the Principles for Sustainable Insurance (PSI) initiative which is part of the United Nations Environment Program: Finance Initiative (UNEPFI).

The average insured losses totalled a third of this amount per annum. On top of this is the social impact of natural disasters.

For the first time insurance data has been combined with other key global natural disaster statistics, enabling all this information to be easily accessed and evaluated. This ground-breaking online tool will help governments, businesses, NGOs and local communities better visualise the full impact of disasters and identify areas of high vulnerability.

Our Response

Incorporating insurance costs

As part of the IAG-led Global Resilience Project (GRP) and fully funded by them, our software engineers developed a data visualisation tool, the Global Risk Map, that highlights the social and economic devastation caused by cyclones, floods, earthquakes and related perils over the past 115 years.

The Global Risk Map is an innovative and interactive map that highlights the areas of greatest vulnerability to natural hazards, and overlays data on natural disaster events, exposure and resilience with relevant insurance information for the first time.

The combination of data will deepen the understanding of disaster risk reduction globally and obtain insight into the social, economic and environmental cost of disasters.

The Results

Global Risk Map

The map is built on our Terria™ technology and is accessible in modern internet browsers. It allows users to overlay hundreds of open datasets sourced from the United Nations, Munich Re and Insurance Australia Group.

The map recognises latitude, longitude and country codes, allowing users to drag and drop in their own datasets of interest.

The Global Risk Map is the second phase of the United Nations endorsed PSI Global Resilience Project, which is led by Insurance Australia Group. The Map was introduced at a major PSI event in Switzerland in May 2015 and formally launched at a global insurance industry event in New York in June 2015.

Ongoing research in Phase 3 of the project focuses on effective approaches to global outreach and stakeholder advocacy for disaster risk reduction.

A key outcome of the project is to turn the data obtained from the map into opportunities for more affordable, accessible and scalable insurance solutions.

Global Risk Map can be accessed online.

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