A comparison of definitions of affordability for flood risk adaption measures: a case study of current and future risk-based flood insurance premiums in Europe

Paul Hudson*

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


Risk-based insurance is a commonly proposed and discussed flood risk adaptation mechanism in policy debates across the world such as in the United Kingdom and the United States of America. However, both risk-based premiums and growing risk pose increasing difficulties for insurance to remain affordable. An empirical concept of affordability is required as the affordability of adaption strategies is an important concern for policymakers, yet such a concept is not often examined. Therefore, a robust metric with a commonly acceptable affordability threshold is required. A robust metric allows for a previously normative concept to be quantified in monetary terms, and in this way, the metric is rendered more suitable for integration into public policy debates. This paper investigates the degree to which risk-based flood insurance premiums are unaffordable in Europe. In addition, this paper compares the outcomes generated by three different definitions of unaffordability in order to investigate the most robust definition. In doing so, the residual income definition was found to be the least sensitive to changes in the threshold. While this paper focuses on Europe, the selected definition can be employed elsewhere in the world and across adaption measures in order to develop a common metric for indicating the potential unaffordability problem.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)1019-1038
Number of pages20
JournalMitigation and Adaptation Strategies for Global Change
Issue number7
Publication statusPublished - 28 Nov 2018

Bibliographical note

Publisher Copyright:
© 2017, Springer Science+Business Media B.V., part of Springer Nature.


  • Adaptation
  • Affordability
  • Climate change
  • Flood risk
  • Insurance
  • Public policy

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