Learning from past flood and wildfire events

How Zurich applies its expertise

Local Zurich offices around the world are implementing flood resilience programs that fits their local needs and context. The global flood resilience program provides support to these programs and helps share their knowledge and ideas throughout our networks.

As part of Zurich’s flood resilience program, the post-event review capability (PERC) provides research and independent reviews of large flood events. It seeks to answer questions related to aspects of flood resilience, flood risk management and catastrophe intervention. It looks at what has worked well (identifying best practice) and opportunities for further improvements.

Since 2013 we have used PERC to analyze various flood events, as presented in more detail below. We are consolidating the knowledge we have gained to make it available to anyone interested in progress on flood risk management. We are also engaging in dialogue with authorities to provide them with knowledge and best practices.

In addition, we are now using PERC to analyze wildfires. See more detail in the California fires and Fort McMurray Wildfire reports.

The PERC manual


Zurich and ISET-International have developed this simple guide to conducting a post event review. In this methodology manual, we lay out the PERC process for individuals and organizations looking to conduct a systematic and holistic evaluation of a disaster. It provides a set of guidelines for conducting PERC fieldwork and a framework for organizing, analyzing and presenting findings.

We do not need to wait for major disaster events to catalyze action; rather, we can learn from the experiences and knowledge gained from previous disasters in other areas to prevent future hazards from becoming disasters.

Read the PERC manual

Resilience Lessons from Cyclone Idai and Cyclone Kenneth

Resilience Lessons from Cyclone Idai and Cyclone Kenneth

Two deadly storms hit Malawi, Mozambique and Zimbabwe in spring 2019. A series of PERC materials highlight that, despite progress in recent years, more needs to be done to build resilience. Zurich and its Alliance members examine issues around housing and infrastructure and the critical need for forecasting and early warning systems.

Read about these resilience lessons

Florence: Building resilience for the new normal

perc florence

This report focuses on opportunities, successes and learnings following Hurricane Florence and is Zurich’s 14th post-event review of a severe weather event.

Read the Hurricane Florence report

Houston and Hurricane Harvey: a call to action

flooding houston

Hurricane Harvey made landfall near Rockport, Texas on August 25, 2017 as a Category 4 storm. Over the next four days, Harvey dropped more than 1 m (40 inches) of rain over eastern Texas, causing catastrophic flooding.

Read about the Hurricane Harvey

Events are natural, disasters are not


How lessons learned from previous events can help businesses to become more resilient.

Read the report

Learning from El Niño Costero 2017

woman flood water peru

The 2017 coastal flooding in Peru was highly destructive, both to northern Peru and the country as a whole. This PERC report explores what happened, where disaster risk reduction was most effective, and where there is opportunity to further build flood resilience in Peruvian lowland communities.

Read the El Niño Costero 2017 report

Flash floods in southern Germany 2016

yellow raincoat and flood

In late May and early June 2016, storms ‘Elvira’ and ‘Friederike’ resulted in extreme rainfall exceeding 180 mm in some regions of southern Germany. Some towns were especially hard hit.

Read more about the floods in South Germany

Columbia and Charleston floods 2015

flooding south carolina

In October 2015, South Carolina experienced days of torrential rains and severe flooding. The floods were a major disaster.

Read more about the floods in South Carolina

Floods, hope and pasta

pink bench in flood

The historic town of Benevento sits approximately 50 kilometers northeast of Naples. It is a place known for food, including fine pasta. As an insurer, Zurich is helping customers in towns like Benevento to become more resilient to floods.

Read more about the floods in Benevento

Flooding after Storm Desmond

flooding after storm desmon

The storms that battered the north of England and parts of Scotland at the end of 2015 and early 2016 caused significant damage and disruption to families and businesses across tight knit rural communities and larger towns and cities.

Read the report on Storm Desmond

Floods in Germany

thumb floods in germany

As if we needed more motivation: Germany’s devastating floods underscore the need for long-term thinking about natural hazard risks.

Read more about the floods in Germany

Helping Portugal cope with floods

helping portugal cope with floods

In the final hours of October 2015, a powerful storm and heavy rains pounded the Algarve region. Flood waters rose quickly, threatening residents and businesses in communities along Portugal’s south coast. By Sunday morning, November 1, it was clear that some of the worst-affected areas faced a major disaster.

Read more about the floods in Portugal

Changing lives along Java’s Bengawan Solo

wading through flood water

The Zurich flood resilience program works closely with Indonesia’s Red Cross Society (PMI) to mitigate the impact of floods in the Bengawan Solo river basin on the island of Java, Indonesia. The program has proved so successful that local authorities are now using our approach to help more communities across Java.

Read more about the floods in Indonesia

Reducing risks posed by Morocco's deadly floods

moroccos deadly floods

It doesn't rain often in the desert, but when it does, the danger can be extreme. A Zurich study reviews what can be learned from devastating floods in Morocco in 2013, based on research led by a group of experts in that country.

Read more about the floods in Morocco

Resilience in a former war zone

flood city

Major floods that swept through the Balkan region in 2014 have added to the problems facing people still recovering from conflict. Some had only just rebuilt their lives, only to be forced to flee again, this time to escape the floods. The legacy of war makes recovery more difficult and dangerous. Land mines are still a real threat. After being dislodged by floods, the mines must be found again and disarmed. Learn more about the effects of the floods and efforts to increase resilience in the Balkan region in the report published here.

Read about the resilience in the Balkan region

Urgent case for recovery after floods in Nepal

rebuilding a house in nepal

Nepal is a country at risk: not only from earthquakes but also floods. As it recovers from a magnitude 7.8 earthquake in April, it could be facing a new risk as monsoon rains begin. Such rains often bring floods like the ones in August 2014 in Western Nepal that killed over 200 people.

Read the report on the floods in Nepal

Central European floods

flooded road

In June 2013, we published a post-event review of the floods in Central Europe, offering recommendations for ways to mitigate damage from such events in future. It included observations from Zurich risk engineers and claims experts, who were on the ground right after the floods to gain first-hand insights.

Read about Central European floods

Storm surge Xaver in the UK

london flood walls

Thousands evacuated and one in six properties at risk – the flooding which hit the UK in December 2013 was the worst since 1953. This review by Zurich experts looks at measures taken and structures put in place over the years. It also shows why it is important to maintain flood protection investments and to make protection part of an integrated flood risk reduction.

Read the report on Storm Xaver

Floods on a hot and sunny day in Switzerland

fallen down bridge

An intense thunderstorm caused severe flooding in Emmental and surrounding villages. But the damages would have been even bigger had the water level of the river Aare not been lowered to be able to take up the high discharge of the Emme river. Read more about the floods in a report by our flood resilience specialist.

Read more about the floods in Emmental


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    California fires: Building resilience from the ashes

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    Fort McMurray Wildfire: Learning from Canada`s costliest disaster


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