Climate Change : Insurance Warning

The giant German Reinsurance company Munich Re has reported that although 2009 was a relatively quiet year for natural disaster losses, there have been increased risks from extreme weather events related to Global Warming :-

http://www.ft.com/cms/s/0/98a3ac0a-f4e2-11de-9cba-00144feab49a.html

“Munich Re urges climate action : By Gerrit Wiesmann in Frankfurt : Published: December 30 2009 : Munich Re, the German reinsurer, yesterday warned that a lack of big earthquakes and hurricanes this year should not lead to complacency about climate change… the number of instances of catastrophic weather would hit 850, above the 10-year average of 770 annual natural-hazard events and a sign for Munich Re that the rate of weather-related catastrophes continued to rise. Torsten Jeworrek, board member for the group’s global reinsurance business, said the number of weather-related catastrophes had “more or less” tripled since 1950, causing about $1,600bn in economic losses since 1980. “Climate change probably already accounts for a significant share [of the sum],” Mr Jeworrek said. “In the light of these facts, it is very disappointing that no breakthrough was achieved at the Copenhagen climate summit in December.” …”

http://www.dw-world.de/dw/article/0,,5075155,00.html

“INSURANCE : 01.01.2010 : Insurance giant warns of rising costs due to climate change”

http://business.timesonline.co.uk/tol/business/industry_sectors/banking_and_finance/article6971018.ece

“December 30, 2009 : Insurers foot $22bn natural disasters bill : Natural catastrophes have left the world’s insurers with a claims bill totalling $22 billion (£13.7 billion) this year as the number of disasters linked to climate change increased markedly. The total costs of such catastrophes, which this year included devastating tornados and severe storms, reached $50 billion worldwide, according to research from Munich Re, the German reinsurer. In its annual assessment of catastrophe losses, published yesterday, Munich Re said that although overall losses were dramatically lower this year than last, the number of destructive events was higher than its average over the past ten years…”

Lloyd’s of London, a major British player in Reinsurance is also concerned :-

http://www.lloyds.com/News_Centre

“Copenhagen – A failure, or a few important steps? : 29 December 2009 : The lack of cuts has disappointed insurers : The inability of world leaders to agree an historic global deal on limiting greenhouse gas emissions in Copenhagen has caused widespread disappointment. But a landmark agreement among the world’s largest polluters made at the conference could be built upon to form the basis of a future worldwide treaty. Despite months of intensive negotiations ahead of the meeting, the heads of 192 countries failed to agree a treaty to tackle climate change in the Danish capital… This lack of cuts has disappointed insurers. ClimateWise – an alliance of leading insurers, including Lloyd’s, focused on reducing the effects of climate change – called on developed countries to agree in Copenhagen to a 40% reduction in their emissions and for developing nations to slash their emissions also to ensure that climate change does not reach dangerous levels…”

http://thehill.com/blogs/e2-wire/677-e2-wire/73873-reinsurer-global-losses-linked-climate-change-mounting

“Reinsurer: Global losses linked to climate change mounting : By Ben Geman : 12/29/09”

Munich Re is putting its money where its mouth is :-

http://www.indybay.org/newsitems/2009/12/29/18633753.php

“Insurer invests in Solar Power, calls for fast action on Climate Change by Takver – Climate Indymedia : Tuesday Dec 29th, 2009 : One of the world’s largest Insurance companies, German based Munich Re, has called for fast action by Governments on climate change resulting in a strict agreement for substantial greenhouse gas reductions. The company has also increased its substantial commitment to the $400billion Desertec proposal for solar thermal power production from North Africa to supply Europe with power…”

Are we ready for the increase in “natural” disasters, naturally occurring events made worse by Climate Change and Global Warming ? The European Union is claiming that it is :-

http://www.dw-world.de/dw/article/0,,4773429,00.html

“EUROPEAN UNION | 08.10.2009 : EU presents new focus on disaster preparedness : Typhoon Ketsana wrought havoc in Vietnam, but the EU says it helped to prevent even worse The EU recently provided 7.1 million euros of disaster relief in one week, and claimed that its disaster preparedness lessened the damage done by Typhoon Ketsana. Is this a sign of the EU’s new international stature? “In Vietnam, Ketsana was really a success story of how disaster preparedness is working,” said David Verboom, regional director of the European Commission for Humanitarian Aid (ECHO) on Wednesday at a press conference after returning from Hanoi…”

But there could come a point when even all the Disaster money from all the national funds and charities and relief agencies could be overwhelmed. What would we do then ?

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