Urban disaster risk management with compulsory earthquake insurance in Turkey

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2009
Taylan, Arzu
Turkish Compulsory Earthquake Insurance (ZDS) introduced after the 1999 Earthquakes aimed to lower financial burdens of the State and to promote safer building construction. High earthquake risk in Turkey necessitates risk mitigation, in line with the priority of the new international policy. Yet, the ZDS system operates without regard to risk mitigation, and it is far from being a compulsory condition. The ZDS system has low penetration ratios due to expectations of State-aid in the event of a disaster, which arise from perceived attributes of ZDS, according to the findings of the Zeytinburnu household survey. The ZDS system generates social inequalities because purchase of the ZDS contracts is voluntary. This is related to higher social statuses and general insurance purchase behavior, whereas insured homeowners in middle-lower income levels are observed to differ significantly from un-insured homeowners in their perception of the ZDS purchase as ‘compulsory’ and as a form of ‘social solidarity’. Operation of the ZDS disregarding risk mitigation seems to promote fatalistic attitudes andTurkish Compulsory Earthquake Insurance (ZDS) introduced after the 1999 Earthquakes aimed to lower financial burdens of the State and to promote safer building construction. High earthquake risk in Turkey necessitates risk mitigation, in line with the priority of the new international policy. Yet, the ZDS system operates without regard to risk mitigation, and it is far from being a compulsory condition. The ZDS system has low penetration ratios due to expectations of State-aid in the event of a disaster, which arise from perceived attributes of ZDS, according to the findings of the Zeytinburnu household survey. The ZDS system generates social inequalities because purchase of the ZDS contracts is voluntary. This is related to higher social statuses and general insurance purchase behavior, whereas insured homeowners in middle-lower income levels are observed to differ significantly from un-insured homeowners in their perception of the ZDS purchase as ‘compulsory’ and as a form of ‘social solidarity’. Operation of the ZDS disregarding risk mitigation seems to promote fatalistic attitudes and reluctance to conform with requirements of risk mitigation. Low penetration ratio and high earthquake risk threaten efficiency of the ZDS system and does not reduce burdens of the State. Based on survey findings, a more appropriate strategy for the achievement of resilience against earthquakes could be possible through the collaboration of the ZDS system with local administrations. It is observed that by means of a ‘Grant Program’, there may be abundant reason and evidence to achieve convertion of the ZDS system from a post-disaster loss compensation mechanism to a predisaster risk reduction benefactor. Supporting municipalities to produce urban risk maps could reduce risks by more accurate estimation of potential losses, and an extended coverage of the ZDS system to urban risks. Relationship analyses between homeowners’ attributes, perceptions and tendencies toward alternative policies indicate the necessity of introducing policies based risk-rated premiums. Homeowners are observed as requiring technical and financial assistance to take mitigation measures, decisions under individualized conditions, on the other hand, seem to reinforce fatalistic attitudes and reluctance due to the disregard of risk mitigation benefits and ZDS purchase. Waste of public resources and creation of social inequalities could be prevented by enhancing the capacities of local authorities to implement urban risk mitigation plans and community-based projects via a Grant Program. ‘Relationship analyses’ of the attitudes of homeowners for alternative policies with respect to their attributes and perceptions revealed that a Grant Program could result in the perception of the ZDS system as a form of social solidarity in risk mitigation. This is to reduce fatalistic attitudes, and curb reluctance compared to individualized conditions of insurance purchase. As a result, willingness to mitigate risks through active participation and purchase of ZDS contracts, particularly among homeowners in the middle-lower socio-economic statuses are likely to expand leading to a resilience society.

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Citation Formats
A. Taylan, “Urban disaster risk management with compulsory earthquake insurance in Turkey,” Ph.D. - Doctoral Program, Middle East Technical University, 2009.