GLOBAL CLIMATE CHANGE: WHY U.S. INSURERS CARE

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Abstract

The number of natural catastrophes in this decade is four times greater than in the 1960s; economic losses are eight times greater; and insured losses are 15 times greater. The insurance industry's financial interest is inter-dependent with climate and weather. Natural events drive the demand for insurance coverage and can threaten the viability of an insurer if it is over-exposed in high risk areas. Early in the 1990s, the industry began to recognize that historical data were potentially misleading with respect to future natural catastrophe exposure. The U.S. insurance industry is pursuing a variety of new approaches including: the use of catastrophe computer models to integrate the natural knowledge about extreme events taken from the sciences into the actuarial sciences. The evaluation of building codes and building code enforcement in every community in the country enhanced its support for hazard mitigation.

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