On the official start of the 2012 Atlantic HurricaneSeason, which runs from June 1 until November 30, we spoke withKaren Clark, president and CEO of Karen Clark & Company,about new approaches to catastrophe-loss estimation andpreparation. Clark explains that while catastrophe models andsoftware applications continue to evolve over time, the biggerchallenge for insurers is realizing the full value of suchtools.

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. Itfeatured a record sequence of weak tropical storms, and HurricaneIrene, a powerful Category 3 storm, was the first hurricane of theseason. The season tied 2010, 1995, and 1887 for the third highestnumber of tropical storms.

We do know, however, that hurricane disasters can occur whetherthe season is active or relatively quiet. It only takes onehurricane (or tropical storm) to cause a disaster and virtuallyunimaginable destruction. Therefore, it is imperative for insurersand risk managers to adequately prepare for every hurricane seasonregardless of seasonal outlook.

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