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Article

Regional Inequalities in Flood Insurance Affordability and Uptake under Climate Change

1
Institute for Environmental Studies, Vrije Universiteit, 1081HV Amsterdam, The Netherlands
2
Utrecht University School of Economics, Utrecht University, 3584EC Utrecht, The Netherlands
3
Risk Management and Decision Processes Center, The Wharton School, University of Pennsylvania, Philadelphia, PA 19104-5340, USA
4
Institute of Environmental Science and Geography, University of Potsdam, 14476 Potsdam-Golm, Germany
5
Deltares, 2629 HV Delft, The Netherlands
*
Author to whom correspondence should be addressed.
Sustainability 2020, 12(20), 8734; https://doi.org/10.3390/su12208734
Received: 26 August 2020 / Revised: 6 October 2020 / Accepted: 19 October 2020 / Published: 21 October 2020
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Mitigation and Adaptation Strategies for Catastrophes)
Flood insurance coverage can enhance financial resilience of households to changing flood risk caused by climate change. However, income inequalities imply that not all households can afford flood insurance. The uptake of flood insurance in voluntary markets may decline when flood risk increases as a result of climate change. This increase in flood risk may cause substantially higher risk-based insurance premiums, reduce the willingness to purchase flood insurance, and worsen problems with the unaffordability of coverage for low-income households. A socio-economic tipping-point can occur when the functioning of a formal flood insurance system is hampered by diminishing demand for coverage. In this study, we examine whether such a tipping-point can occur in Europe for current flood insurance systems under different trends in future flood risk caused by climate and socio-economic change. This analysis gives insights into regional inequalities concerning the ability to continue to use flood insurance as an instrument to adapt to changing flood risk. For this study, we adapt the “Dynamic Integrated Flood and Insurance” (DIFI) model by integrating new flood risk simulations in the model that enable examining impacts from various scenarios of climate and socio-economic change on flood insurance premiums and consumer demand. Our results show rising unaffordability and declining demand for flood insurance across scenarios towards 2080. Under a high climate change scenario, simulations show the occurrence of a socio-economic tipping-point in several regions, where insurance uptake almost disappears. A tipping-point and related inequalities in the ability to use flood insurance as an adaptation instrument can be mitigated by introducing reforms of flood insurance arrangements. View Full-Text
Keywords: climate change; flood risk management; insurance; socio-economic tipping-point; adaptation; partial equilibrium modeling climate change; flood risk management; insurance; socio-economic tipping-point; adaptation; partial equilibrium modeling
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MDPI and ACS Style

Tesselaar, M.; Botzen, W.J.W.; Haer, T.; Hudson, P.; Tiggeloven, T.; Aerts, J.C.J.H. Regional Inequalities in Flood Insurance Affordability and Uptake under Climate Change. Sustainability 2020, 12, 8734. https://doi.org/10.3390/su12208734

AMA Style

Tesselaar M, Botzen WJW, Haer T, Hudson P, Tiggeloven T, Aerts JCJH. Regional Inequalities in Flood Insurance Affordability and Uptake under Climate Change. Sustainability. 2020; 12(20):8734. https://doi.org/10.3390/su12208734

Chicago/Turabian Style

Tesselaar, Max, W. J.W. Botzen, Toon Haer, Paul Hudson, Timothy Tiggeloven, and Jeroen C.J.H. Aerts 2020. "Regional Inequalities in Flood Insurance Affordability and Uptake under Climate Change" Sustainability 12, no. 20: 8734. https://doi.org/10.3390/su12208734

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