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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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Impending disasters. Insurers are familiar with a host of existing risks, but new disasters still occur that can cause them to scramble for coverage and assess damages. The coronavirus is a perfect example. (Photo: Shutterstock)

With hurricanes, wildfires, tornadoes, floods, volcanic eruptions, earthquakes, cyber warfare and drought already making life difficult for insurers and reinsurers, they hardly need a new type of catastrophe to eat away at their capacity. Yet, every day it seems that some new type of disaster hits, causing insurers to scramble to find coverage and assess damages.

At least once a year there will be a major explosion at some chemical, petroleum or food processing facility that will destroy half a town. If the federal government permits the shipment of liquid natural gas in DOT113 tank cars through urban areas, there may be even more such devastating accidents. Also, at least annually, a large cargo or passenger ship will hit rocks and send the Lutine Bell* at Lloyd’s ringing as the ship rolls on its side spewing oil and pollutants, or a new model aircraft will be shown to have fatal flaws, creating financial problems in the aviation industry.

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