Instant Insights / The Impact of Climate Change on P&C Insurance

Scientists have built consensus around the probability that more powerful floods, fires, droughts and storms will occur with higher frequency as the Earth gets hotter.


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Climate change disaster risk A hog farm surrounded by floodwater is seen in this aerial photograph taken above Willard, North Carolina, on Friday, Sept. 21, 2018. Record floods covered much of eastern North Carolina in the wake of Hurricane Florence. (Photo: Alex Wroblewski/Bloomberg)

Hurricanes Harvey, Maria and Irma, the earthquakes in Mexico, the typhoon in Bangladesh and massive flooding in India kept natural disasters in the news throughout 2017 and caused damages, deaths and record losses to the insurance industry. While 2018 started off more quietly, hurricanes and wildfires in the second half of the year caused devastating damage.

In the wake of news about PG&E’s impending bankruptcy filing, wildfires continue to be the subject of much discussion. Primarily due to the California wildfires, as well as tropical storms, global losses from natural disasters in 2018, while not as devastating as in 2017, continued to be well above the 30-year average according to a report recently published by Munich RE. The natural disasters of 2018 in figures, Munich Re (Jan. 8, 2019).

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