PUBLISHED ON: February 9, 2022
Abstract: Losses from natural catastrophes are costing many tens of billions as year, from hurricanes and tornadoes to record-breaking rainfall and floods. Whether the insurance industry will or can provide coverage for all of the devastating effects of climate change (or, as some might put it, a new and calamitous phase in our earth’s existence) only time will tell. In the meantime, policyholders must cross their Ts if they expect coverage. In this article the author shares insights on the complex but essential task of documenting and valuing post-storm losses.
It is widely accepted that climate change has given rise to a number of substantial property damage–related risks, primarily in the form of extreme weather events, such as hurricanes, tornadoes, and hailstorms, as well as increased risks of wildfires fueled by hot, dry weather. Just about every commentator on climate change–related weather events echoes the same phrase—the storms are becoming more frequent and more severe.
The numbers do not lie. Natural catastrophe losses across the globe totaled $40 billion in the first six months of 2021, according to a recent report published by Swiss Re Institute. That figure does not include the devastating losses caused by more recent hurricanes, including Hurricane Ida, which ravaged much of southeastern Louisiana before losing its tropical characteristics yet still wreaking havoc across parts of Pennsylvania, New Jersey, and New York with tornadoes and record-breaking rainfall.
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