Magazine article Risk Management

Natural Catastrophes 2003

Magazine article Risk Management

Natural Catastrophes 2003

Article excerpt

The insurance industry was hard hit once again last year by natural catastrophes, with an increase of nearly $5 billion in insured losses over 2002, according to Munich Re's most recent figures. With events like the extreme heat wave that struck Europe (months after major flooding), many experts see increasingly bizarre weather events as a sign of things to come.

"We will have to get used to the fact that hot summers like the one we had in Europe this year must be expected more frequently in the future," says Dr. Gerhard Berz, Head of Munich Re's Geo Risks Research Department. "It is possible that they will have become more or less the norm by the middle of the century ... Warmer summers mean a rise in the intensity and frequency of severe weather events."

Although headlines in 2003 were dominated by earthquakes, heat waves and fire, insurers' greatest nemesis in terms of cost of damage again was the double threat of windstorms and severe storm activity, which accounted for 75 percent of all insured losses, which rose to $15 billion from $11. …

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