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On the official start of the 2012 Atlantic Hurricane Season, which runs from June 1 until November 30, we spoke with Karen Clark, president and CEO of Karen Clark & Company, about new approaches to catastrophe-loss estimation and preparation. Clark explains that while catastrophe models and software applications continue to evolve over time, the bigger challenge for insurers is realizing the full value of such tools.

The consensus among forecasters is that the 2012 season should be relatively “normal,” with current projections remaining unfazed by the pre-season storms. The 2011 Atlantic hurricane season produced 20 tropical cyclones, 19 tropical storms, seven hurricanes, and four major hurricanes. It featured a record sequence of weak tropical storms, and Hurricane Irene, a powerful Category 3 storm, was the first hurricane of the season. The season tied 2010, 1995, and 1887 for the third highest number of tropical storms.

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