Proportional loss functions for debris flow events
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.