The economics of flood insurance
The economics of flood insurance

Start this free course now. Just create an account and sign in. Enrol and complete the course for a free statement of participation or digital badge if available.

Free course

The economics of flood insurance

1.1 What is Flooding?

Flooding occurs when an area not normally covered in water is temporarily inundated.

Satellite image of The River Nile
Figure 1 The River Nile, Red Sea and Mediterranean coast

Rivers can flood, for example, as a result of heavy rainfall or in the spring when snow melt from higher altitudes leads to a sudden increase in the volume of water. But flooding is not something that only happens in communities located next to rivers or coastlines. There are six common types of flooding (Flood Guidance, 2009), some of which can even affect hill-top locations. Explore the types of flooding by scrolling/rolling over/clicking on the images in Figure 2.

Active content not displayed. This content requires JavaScript to be enabled.
Figure 2 Types of flooding
Interactive feature not available in single page view (see it in standard view).

Activity 1 Is flooding a problem?

Timing: Allow 10 minutes for this activity

Thinking about the types of flooding described in Figure 2, would you consider some types to be more or less problematic than others? Are there any types of flooding that might be beneficial?

To use this interactive functionality a free OU account is required. Sign in or register.
Interactive feature not available in single page view (see it in standard view).

Answer

All types of flooding may be problematic, depending on context. There may be loss of life, damage to property, impact on infrastructure, such as roads and rail systems, bridges and power lines. Sewer flooding, because of contamination, poses additional dangers to health. Depending on the severity and duration of the inundation, these different aspects of damage may exacerbate each other (such as in cases where large scale flooding makes roads impassable, making it difficult to rescue people or get healthcare to them).

On the other hand, flooding may be predictable, expected and harmless. If there is an adequate flood plain to take up the water from river or coastal flooding, it might not be particularly problematic. The flood can simply be left to dissipate over time.

Flooding may even be beneficial to natural or agricultural processes. Civilisation has thrived for thousands of years around the Nile in Egypt, strongly benefitting from agriculture on the flood plains. The annual silt and water deposits make the land extremely fertile. Flooding is therefore not an inherently negative event, but can be problematic if unpredictable, unexpected or badly managed.

DD226_1

Take your learning further

Making the decision to study can be a big step, which is why you'll want a trusted University. The Open University has 50 years’ experience delivering flexible learning and 170,000 students are studying with us right now. Take a look at all Open University courses.

If you are new to University-level study, we offer two introductory routes to our qualifications. You could either choose to start with an Access module, or a module which allows you to count your previous learning towards an Open University qualification. Read our guide on Where to take your learning next for more information.

Not ready for formal University study? Then browse over 1000 free courses on OpenLearn and sign up to our newsletter to hear about new free courses as they are released.

Every year, thousands of students decide to study with The Open University. With over 120 qualifications, we’ve got the right course for you.

Request an Open University prospectus371