Two of the biggest questions facing New Zealand local authorities right now are:
- What can we do most effectively now to reduce our communities’ exposure to natural hazards?
- What can we plan to do now that will ensure that our communities continue to operate safely and sustainably, while recovering as quickly as possible, following a natural disaster?
Recent events such as the Canterbury Earthquake Sequence (CES) and the Hurunui/Kaikōura earthquake have highlighted the exposure of New Zealand’s communities, infrastructure and capital assets to the devastating social and economic impacts of natural hazards. The horizontal infrastructure loss experienced in Canterbury was a critical area where actual losses greatly exceeded earlier estimates.
Following the CES, Treasury began evaluating changes to the Crown’s risk financing and insurance arrangements. This requires local authorities to take a larger responsibility for insuring their assets as part of a broader requirement to better manage their risk.
These insurance evaluations demand expert support with robust hazard identification, loss modelling and valuation estimation. The combined skills and knowledge that Tonkin + Taylor (T+T) and Aon provide have been applied to assess the local authorities three waters horizontal infrastructure and flood management assets. To date the T+T/Aon team have undertaken studies for more than 20 local authorities across New Zealand.
Once natural hazard exposure is understood through loss estimates, our team can assist with asset criticality studies and the development of asset management strategies to improve community resilience - both before a natural hazard event occurs and with effective post-event responses.
With the knowledge and skills developed in assessing natural hazard risk to horizontal infrastructure, we are also actively working towards offering greatly enhanced natural hazards assessments and multi-hazard risk assessments that will incorporate other critical linear infrastructure assets such as pipelines, power networks and roads.