[Event Recap] World Bank and IDF Webinar: Flood Modeling in Data Scarce Contexts

May 18

Photo credit: Wutthichai / Shutterstock.com

On May 18, 2023, a webinar was held to present the publishing of the report Flood Risk Modeling to Support Risk Transfer: Challenges and Opportunities in Data-Scarce Contexts. This report, and therefore webinar, explored the processes and challenges in developing flood risk models to support disaster risk financing and insurance and proposes guidelines for risk modeling and risk monitoring in support of flood risk transfer instruments for data-scarce contexts. This report is informed by consultations with insurance industry and development sector practitioners including flood hazard and risk modeling experts, underwriters and brokers, and earth observation specialists. This was a joint collaboration between the World Bank Disaster Risk Financing and Insurance Program (DRFIP) and the Insurance Development Forum.

The webinar began with opening remarks from Hang Thu Vu (Senior Financial Sector Specialist and Acting Practice Manager, Crisis and Disaster Risk Finance, Finance, Competitiveness and Innovation, World Bank Group [WBG]) and Rowan Douglas (Chair of Insurance Development Forum Operating Committee), who both spoke about the complexity of flood modeling and the lack of granular data in emerging market developing economies, and promoted this report as the start of a longer-term collaboration.

Stuart Fraser (Technical Lead, Insurance Development Forum [IDF], RMSG) and Michaela Dolk (Financial Sector Specialist, WBG) presented us with an overview of the report, including the key points in terms of risk modelling, risk transfer, risk monitoring, and the effective communication of these key findings. This was then followed by three speakers who gave their perspectives on the report from a development, research, and professional point of view.

  1. Lizzy Rees (Technical Lead for Crisis Anticipation and Disaster Risk Financing, START Network) presented the challenges experienced in flood risk financing in the humanitarian sector. Presenting several case studies on DRF systems projects in Pakistan, DRC, and Bangladesh.
  2. Paul Bates (Chairman and co-founder Fathom and Professor at the University of Bristol) presented a technical view on the report highlighting the challenges of working on data-scarce contexts, like development projects, the use of Digital Terrain Modelling (DTM), as studied in the report, and other key advances in the area.  
  3. Colin Doyle (Principal Scientist, Floodbase) spoke of remote sensing for risk transfer, presenting a country-wide agricultural insurance scheme case study, highlighting the importance of having the right data, the right quality data, the right amount of data, and at the right time.

These interesting talks were followed by a lively Q&A section which covered topics ranging from partnerships, challenges in the development sector, and the effectiveness of DRF, among others. This successful webinar, attended by over 120 participants, was organized by IDF.


You can find the report here.