Beyond Saving Lives: Assessing the Economic Benefits of Early Warning Apps for Companies in the Context of Hydrological Hazards

Simone Wurster, Michael Klafft, Marcel Kühn

Abstract

Natural and man-made hazards are increasingly threatening modern societies. Therefore Turoff, Hiltz, Bañuls and Van Den Eede (2013) highlight the need for boosting efforts in planning for emergencies. Advanced early warning systems (EWS) provide opportunities to increase the resilience of societies. Warning via mobile phones is considered to be the best way of alerting but few public authorities already use this warning channel. EWS also help to protect property but their implementation requires significant investments. Cost-benefit estimations are needed for public authorities, insurance companies and the users, particularly private households and enterprises. This paper contributes a disaster-independent formula to disaster research with specific applications for hydrological hazards. Illustrated by a heavy rain scenario, it shows, in particular, the benefits of EWS for companies. A specific focus is put on lead time aspects.

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