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Natural Hazards and Earth System Sciences An interactive open-access journal of the European Geosciences Union
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Volume 13, issue 8 | Copyright

Special issue: Costs of Natural Hazards

Nat. Hazards Earth Syst. Sci., 13, 2147-2156, 2013
https://doi.org/10.5194/nhess-13-2147-2013
© Author(s) 2013. This work is distributed under
the Creative Commons Attribution 3.0 License.

Research article 30 Aug 2013

Research article | 30 Aug 2013

Proportional loss functions for debris flow events

C. M. Rheinberger1, H. E. Romang2, and M. Bründl3 C. M. Rheinberger et al.
  • 1LERNA-INRA, Toulouse School of Economics, Toulouse, France
  • 2Swiss Federal Office of Meteorology and Climatology, Zurich, Switzerland
  • 3WSL Institute for Snow and Avalanche Research SLF, Davos, Switzerland

Abstract. Quantitative risk assessments of debris flows and other hydrogeological hazards require the analyst to predict damage potentials. A common way to do so is by use of proportional loss functions. In this paper, we analyze a uniquely rich dataset of 132 buildings that were damaged in one of five large debris flow events in Switzerland. Using the double generalized linear model, we estimate proportional loss functions that may be used for various prediction purposes including hazard mapping, landscape planning, and insurance pricing. Unlike earlier analyses, we control for confounding effects of building characteristics, site specifics, and process intensities as well as for overdispersion in the data. Our results suggest that process intensity parameters are the most meaningful predictors of proportional loss sizes. Cross-validation tests suggest that the mean absolute prediction errors of our models are in the range of 11%, underpinning the accurateness of the approach.

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