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How much does an extreme rainfall event cost? Material damage and relationships between insurance, rainfall, land cover and urban flooding

Leal, Miguel, Boavida-Portugal, Inês, Fragoso, Marcelo, Ramos, Catarina
Hydrological sciences journal 2019 v.64 no.6 pp. 673-689
hydrology, insurance, land cover, metropolitan areas, rain
This research aims to understand how insurance, rainfall, land cover and urban flooding are related and how these variables influenced the material damage in the Lisbon Metropolitan Area (LMA) during the 2000–2011 period. Correlation coefficients show strong relationships between built-up areas and claims (0.94) and payouts (0.88). Despite no significant relationships being found between rainfall and the amount of material damage per event, three likelihood levels of flooding were determined for hourly rainfall. Unlike the studied period, the number of claims and their spatial distribution during the 2008 extreme rainfall event were strongly dependent on rainfall. Flooding related to the old watercourses assumed greater importance during this extreme event, recovering a more natural/ancient hydrological behaviour. In the LMA, the greatest material damage was the result of high-magnitude/low-probability rainfall events. Lower magnitude events can trigger numerous claims in heavily built-up areas, but they are hardly capable of producing large material damage.