While the world has been beset in recent years with various natural disasters–from heat waves in Europe and flooding in Asia to flooding, drought and wildfires in Australia to earthquake and tsunami in Japan–those caused by severe weather have hit the U.S. hardest, according to a study released on Oct. 17 by the massive German reinsurer Munich Re.
A Huffington Post report cited the study in a piece that tied the effects of climate change to the fury of Sandy–also dubbed “Frankenstorm” for its composite nature and its timing during the Halloween season. While doubt over the reality of climate change may persist most strongly in the U.S., ironically, its effects are hitting North American shores–and heartland–the hardest, and insurers cannot afford to doubt the connection.
Munich Re’s report, “Severe weather in North America,” the company said in a statement, “analyzes all kinds of weather perils and their trends. It reports and shows that the continent has experienced the largest increases in weather-related loss events.”
The reinsurer said that the report was prepared “to support underwriters and clients in North America, the world’s largest insurance and reinsurance market … Munich Re analyzes the frequency and loss trends of different perils from an insurance perspective. The North American continent is exposed to every type of hazardous weather peril–tropical cyclone, thunderstorm, winter storm, tornado, wildfire, drought and flood.”
Sandy packed so much of a wallop because it combined several different forms of peril in one deadly package. A Bloomberg report puts loss estimates from Sandy at over $20 billion and adds that, of the total, perhaps $7–$8 billion will be insured.