The role of social norms on flood risk perception and flood insurance purchase: Results of a survey in Queensland (14550)
Flood insurance can reduce potentially disastrous economic losses to households. As climatic uncertainties grow, governments have increasingly found the social costs of non-insurance prohibitive. Attempts to improve insurance coverage could benefit from a characterization of the insured and uninsured households. The dominant view holds that the insured household is more risk aware and more likely to consider the costs of insurance to be affordable. However, evidence from a social survey involving 500 South-East Queensland residents shows that the subjective risk and income effects were not significant. Instead, perception of social response predicted insurance status. The likelihood of insuring against flooding increases if individuals expect the same action from other people or affirmation from family members and friends. Adoption of flood insurance is affected by perceived social norms. Flood managers, policymakers and insures are suggested to address these social determinants head-on in order to improve insurance coverage.