Posts Tagged ‘flood’
As with Europe, 2013 was a year of flood in the Americas, with notable events in Alberta, Toronto and Colorado. The flood event in the Calgary, Alberta area of Canada resulted in estimated insured losses of around USD2 billion, with economic losses of USD4.8 billion (1). This event, combined with flash-flooding in Toronto, Ontario in July, meant Canada experienced its most expensive insured catastrophe loss year on record.
Asia and Australasia also received their share of both natural and man-made catastrophes in 2013. One of the most costly man-made events occurred in China after a major fire hit a large microchip factory in September. The blaze caused significant damage to the SK Hynix-owned facility in the city of Wuxi, with reports saying the cost to the (re)insurance sector is expected to range between USD900 million and USD1 billion. The incident represents the most expensive single-risk loss on record to occur in China.
2013 will be remembered in Europe in part as the year of the flood, with the worst flood event affecting several Central European countries in June. Estimated insured losses from this event were around USD4.1 billion, with economic losses of around USD18 billion (1). Persistent heavy rain caused the Vltava, Elbe and Danube Rivers to overflow their banks and in some cases breach flood defenses. Countries affected included Germany, the Czech Republic, Slovakia, Austria, Switzerland, Hungary and Poland.
2013 provided a respite for the (re)insurance industry following above-average losses in 2011 and 2012, with insured losses from natural catastrophes and man-made disasters estimated at around USD40 billion, according to Guy Carpenter & Company (see Figure 1). This is considerably less than the ten-year average loss of approximately USD60 billion and well below the most significant years of 2005 and 2011 (see Figure 2 (Inflation adjusted)). This can be partly attributed to the unusually quiet 2013 Atlantic tropical season. About 47 percent of insured losses in 2013 were reported in the Americas, 31 percent in Europe and 20 percent in Asia and Australasia (see Figure 3). Continue reading…
Guy Carpenter & Company released its 2013 Catastrophe Review, which shows that natural catastrophes and man-made disasters in 2013 resulted in insured losses of approximately $40 billion. Following above-average losses experienced in 2011 and 2012, 2013 provided a respite for the (re)insurance industry as insured losses were considerably less than the ten-year average of approximately $60 billion.
Although there has been a significant increase in both economic and insured losses from natural catastrophes in recent decades, it is important to put these numbers in context. With the exception of coastal flood, inland flood and drought, the wholesale attribution of rising financial losses to an increase in hazard frequency can be misleading. Statements concerning the influence of global warming on loss trends would be better served if normalized by factors such as inflation, (per capita) gross domestic product, total insured value, population density and annualized property value. Indeed, the IPCC agrees that ignoring these factors leaves an upward trend in losses for purely economic reasons, notwithstanding any behavior in the peril. As an example, the recent “trend” in hurricane losses for the coastal United States loses clarity when normalized by inflation and population density. (1)
Global climate models project a best estimate of a further two to four degree (Celsius) increase in the mean temperature of the Earth by the end of this century. Although this may seem insignificant on an intuitive level, the resulting impacts are of significant concern. Sea-level rise is the most significant threat for coastal areas as a result of melting glaciers. Apart from this threat, changing weather patterns will result in drought and inland flood threats for some areas. As a general principle of climate change, changes to the mean of meteorological extreme value distributions can be expected but an increase in tail thickness (or variability) is of greater concern. The day-to-day variability that we see today will likely expand.
Guy Carpenter Extends Coverage of Industrial Park Database to Include Vietnam, Malaysia and South Korea
In 2011, Thailand experienced its worst flooding in years with insured losses estimated at around USD15 billion,(1) of which the Thai General Insurance Association attributed more than 90 percent arising from commercial risks located within industrial parks. As industrial parks are common in several countries in the region, Guy Carpenter developed a database of digitized boundaries of these parks to support its clients’ ability to analyze the potential for catastrophic losses arising from exposures located within park boundaries.
Richard Banyard, Senior Vice President, Lance Finley, Managing Director, Jane Furnas, Senior Vice President and Scott VanKoughnett, Senior Vice President
Insurance policies are carefully drafted to outline coverage that is needed by policyholders while also specifying those areas where coverage is not expected to apply - the goal is to provide contract certainty, not in the usual sense of timeliness of contract signing, but from the perspective of specific policy language. Sometimes, however, contract certainty is not so certain. Recent examples have shown that insurers are increasingly facing reinterpretations of their policies by the judicial system, regulators, politicians and even the public via social media, all exerting pressure on insurers to provide coverage not previously anticipated by the drafters and underwriters of those policies. As these claims are presented to the reinsurance market, pressure is also put on reinsurers to provide coverage that they may not have originally contemplated. Insurers need to know that their reinsurers partner with them in such situations, and that reinsurance contracts provide appropriate flexibility to help ensure the reinsurers’ promise to pay. The comments made in this article are intended solely to foster discussion on this topic.