Annals of global warming: Insurance companies note increasing costs of floods, due to climate change


Note today in Al Gore’s Journal:

Flooding Costs October 1, 2012 : 10:32 AM

Time cover from April 28, 2008 - how to win war on global warming

Time Magazine cover for April 28, 2008 – How to Win the War On Global Warming

A new report from Swiss Re finds that the financial impact of flooding has doubled in the past decade – climate is a major driver:

“Flood losses are increasing at an alarming rate while the insurability of floods provides unique challenges for the industry, according Swiss Re’s latest report, “Flood – an underestimated risk: Inspect, inform, insure”.” …

“No other natural catastrophe impacts as many people as flooding with an estimated 500 million people affected every year. Insured flood losses are also increasing significantly; 1970’s annual claims were between USD 1–2 billion, whereas insured flood losses amounted to USD 15 billion in 2011. Recent flood events in Thailand, Australia and the Philippines have shown that floods are now rivalling earthquakes and hurricanes in terms of economic losses.” …

“Population growth, demographic change, a higher concentration of assets in exposed areas, greater vulnerability of insured objects and climate change are all contributing to the increasing costs of flood damage. The rising costs of floods are creating challenges for the insurance industry and the economic viability of flood insurance is currently an issue under scrutiny.”

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16 Responses to Annals of global warming: Insurance companies note increasing costs of floods, due to climate change

  1. […] “Annals of global warming: Insurance companies note increasing costs of floods due to climate … (Millard Fillmore’s Bathtub) […]

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  2. [...] Insurance The financial impact of flooding has doubled within the past ten years and the very real concern is that climate change will soon price people out of insuring their [...]

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  3. [...] “Annals of global warming: Insurance companies note increasing costs of floods due to climate … (Millard Fillmore’s Bathtub) [...]

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  4. [...] Insurance The financial impact of flooding has doubled within the past ten years and the very real concern is that climate change will soon price people out of insuring their [...]

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  5. [...] why property insurance companies would be playing along with the supposed “hoax.” Insurers have been screaming bloody murder about climate change for decades. They have no incentive to be lying and they are not lying. They are very, very worried about [...]

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  6. Ed Darrell says:

    I think the title of the Time magazine cover “ How to win the war on global warming” is ridiculous , looking at physical record and the lack of warming , its no wonder that we have the newer 21st century problem of “climate Change “ instead. See the slight of hand, if evidence doesn’t fit the theory , re-jig theory so any evidence fits the theory.

    Lack of warming? Have you left Earth? We recently finished the warmest decade in human history, and the subsequent two years have been at least as warm, and warmer.

    Denying hypotheses is one thing, especially if there are contrary data. Denying the thermometers is quite different.

    Sleight of hand? We’re not talking a rejiggering of theory here — you’re trying to rejigger history. If the evidence completely contradicts your hypothesis, claim the evidence goes the other way?

    Skeptics don’t rejigger the evidence. They may withhold judgment, but they don’t deny the evidence that exists.

    The Time cover suggests we can do something about global warming. As one of my professors in air pollution used to say, if we put it up there, we can bring it down. I remain convinced we can undo damage humans have done, and I understand we don’t have any time to dawdle. In short, I remain hopeful; but in any case, I refuse to give up and surrender to preventable catastrophe, as you ask.

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  7. Ed Darrell says:

    Rereading, I see we should probably emphasize something that would be obvious to reasonable people, but which can be chased out of discussions with polemics.

    Insurance companies’ concerns about global warming and its effects demonstrate the reality of the concerns, and the importance of the studies to determine how great the effects might be. Insurance companies live in a free market, basically. They need to make profits. Consequently, they cannot afford to dally with non-scientific claims that science isn’t solid. When there is evidence of a harm from climate change, insurance companies must act to protect their assets, to protect their businesses, and to protect their investors.

    Asteroid insurance? You can’t buy it, and it’s not much of a topic of discussion among insurers. Zombie attack insurance? Can’t buy it, not even discussed. Climate change? Insurance companies insure against all kinds of weather damage, and against fire damage including wildfires. To the extent that warming affects what the insurance companies have to pay out, they are intensely interested, and they have already acted.

    In short, in the marketplace of ideas alone, so-called “skeptics” who have religious-style beliefs that science is wrong, can get some traction. But in the marketplace of money, global warming denialists get no traction. In the marketplace, climate change skepticism isn’t even in the discount bins. It’s in the trash bin out back.

    For more background, see:

    http://timpanogos.wordpress.com/2009/06/20/maybe-estimates-of-sea-level-increases-are-low-maybe-climate-change-damage-will-be-greater-than-expected/

    http://timpanogos.wordpress.com/2009/06/06/is-texas-the-state-most-vulnerable-to-global-climate-change/

    And especially this one, and note the EPA suggestions to planning for the effects in harbors:

    http://timpanogos.wordpress.com/2009/05/17/desperation-in-agw-denial-ranks/

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  8. Ed Darrell says:

    Again AGW is overstated , it is prone to fear mongering and this has produced the AGW catchall fear scam( droughts now floods , all road lead to AGW and evil capitalism).

    Is global warming confirmed? Yes.

    Is human contribution to global warming confirmed? Yes.

    Do you subscribe to those facts?

    Then please tell me how anyone who is not denying the facts would say, “Again, AGW is overstated.”

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  9. David xavier says:

    ED says “So, since you’re unconvinced that the insurance companies are right, you think we should play down the part that you don’t like? Climate is a big issue; denialism is a complication.”
    I am a skeptic I don’t ‘deny’ and I am not a “denier” . Such labeling is intimidation as it has a nasty connotation in that the word ‘denier’ used to disenfranchise and isolate people who say the holocaust doesn’t exist. And yes, Obviously the holocaust did take place, it is an objective ‘ fact’. But is AGW the primary driver in Climate change? Is that a proven fact? If you say it is then I am arguing with an enviro-religious nut.
    I do not deny climate change , I am skeptical that AGW is the primary driver and that mankind can do much about it. I think the title of the Time magazine cover “ How to win the war on global warming” is ridiculous , looking at physical record and the lack of warming , its no wonder that we have the newer 21st century problem of “climate Change “ instead. See the slight of hand, if evidence doesn’t fit the theory , re-jig theory so any evidence fits the theory.
    So Western governments decided not to listen to voices of dissent ( you know the denialists who complicate matters) and listened to the eco-warriors- the true believers ( or gate keepers of the truth in your speak) , and introduced some of the “wartime measures” the Time article wants. The EU decreed that 5.75 percent of petrol and diesel must come from “biofuels” by 2010, rising to 10 percent by 2020. The U.S. added to its 51 cents-per-gallon ethanol subsidy by mandating a five-fold increase in “biofuels” production by 2022.

    The result is that big government accomplished at a stroke what the free market could never have done: They turned the food supply into a subsidiary of the energy industry. Warren Buffet was so pleased. When you divert 28 percent of U.S. grain into fuel production, and when you artificially make its value as fuel higher than its value as food, why be surprised that you’ve suddenly got less to eat? Or, to be more precise, it’s not “you” who’s got less to eat but those starving dusky coloured peasants in distant lands that you would certainly claim to care so much about.
    So is skepticism a complication? Not is a brake on capricious action- action like adding ethanol to petrol and rising the cost of food for the developing world, or building inefficient and expensive windmills on the backs of subsidies so that parasites like Warren Buffet can get rich. Like impoverishing the Western world with carbon schemes that only make corporate world richer. Capricious action like allowing fracking for coal gas and the effect this will have on artesian water. Honestly, you don’t what complications in science? No questioning? Allow no alternative theory? No highlighting of the theories short comings?
    Ed says “That is, you’re making our insurance costs rise when you block action to mitigate the damage, as you do by claiming “climate alarmism” is dead. Right. And malaria can be cured by more DDT, and HIV doesn’t affect heterosexuals, and the U.S.’s 305 million documented residents are being “over-run” by an undocumented contingent 3% as big. Got what you mean.”

    Here is what the Swiss Re article states as the contributors to increasing costs of flood: population growth, demographic change, a higher concentration of assets in exposed areas, greater vulnerability of insured objects and climate change. The article itself singles out “Climate as a major driver” and uses the IPCC to underwrite such a claim. I am saying this is counter to the IPCC own predictions , that “..(AGW) signals are relatively small compared to natural climate variability over this time frame (coming decades)”. Yes there may be increased risks and exposure but that is impossible to determine if it is due to climate change. And any frequency increase would be exposed by the historical record and would be used to verify any increased occurrence. But the article mentions only costs which can be explained by the other more verifiable contributing factors. So the recent flood events in Thailand, Australia and the Philippines, were the floods unprecedented in size , frequency etc and hence due to climate change? The Australian floods were in line with the historic record, as were probably the others.
    Clearly what I am saying is that the insurance companies want to use climate change as an excuse , without evidence , to lift premiums.
    What is occurring in the media is that a cabal of scientists have a government funded money stream and are milking it for all its worth through shrill alarmist predictions that have a history of not occurring , or opportunistically linking every weather event to AGW. I can almost hear old Noam Chomsky intone ..”Just Follow the money..” yes the AGW industry is not about to start telling anything like the truth and the media isn’t about to start holding them to account, that would stop the Gov bucks from flowing. And the banking sector just can’t wait to invent another derivative based on carbon. Then you have the true believers , like NASA’s Holdren , who are quite scary, who want to suspend democracy on the back of a theory with question marks all over it( its reliant on modeling that cant accurately predict the past present or future for a start) …. As I said , the scientists, pseudo scientists ,environmentalists, leftists, DNC are trying to ‘manufacture consent’ for the government to enact more regulations and intrusions into the American people’s lives. But there are some who want bigger government and a more managed life, to be given a phone and stuff, so this isn’t a problem and they would actually applaud it.
    As for the ad hominem attacks linking skeptics to silly conspiracy- skeptics look at the physical record and see yawning gaps in the AGW theory. We aren’t predisposed to conspiracy … it’s about the politicization of science hence your mis-direction.

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  10. Ed Darrell says:

    So, since you’re unconvinced that the insurance companies are right, you think we should play down the part that you don’t like? Climate is a big issue; denialism is a complication.

    That is, you’re making our insurance costs rise when you block action to mitigate the damage, as you do by claiming “climate alarmism” is dead. Right. And malaria can be cured by more DDT, and HIV doesn’t affect heterosexuals, and the U.S.’s 305 million documented residents are being “over-run” by an undocumented contingent 3% as big. Got what you mean.

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  11. klem says:

    I noticed your headline says ‘Due to climate change’ but the quote actually only mentions climate change among several other causes. Methinks you are hyping it. The thing is, hyping climate change fear is the primary reason why climate alarmism is a dead issue now.

    Nice, keep up the great work.

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  12. Ed Darrell says:

    Also, David, I hope you’ll look at the articles linked at the bottom of the post. I’ve been looking at insurance and global warming for several years, ever since, more than a decade ago, our little city got hammered with higher insurance rates on city stuff. The city manager went to plead his case to an international conference of underwriters — south of here, but I forget in which city now — and came back instead rather agog at the number of presentations and the quality of presentations on how global warming was already hammering the insurance industry, and so things would have to change. Among the first signs we’ve seen here in Texas is the rise in home insurance rates, as record numbers of homes have been hit with record hail, high winds, floods and wildfires.

    This is not a complete explanation of the problem, but it is one more step on the road to dealing with climate change — and for the few remaining, obstreperous self-proclaimed “skeptics,” it’s another chunk of information that they need to deal with. One can claim to deny climate change all one wants, but one must pay one’s home insurance. When those costs rise enough, even the most die-hard believer in “no warming” will come around.

    So check out the links, especially to other posts here at the Bathtub.

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  13. Ed Darrell says:

    Look at the details in the Swiss Re report; see page 20:

    Climate adaptation and flood risk:
    The case of Hull

    The city of Hull provides a compelling example of how a systematic risk management approach can help to reduce potential losses from floods and other hazards while promoting economic development in a region that exhibits a growing concentration of assets at risk from climate change. But while climate adaptation is an urgent priority for the custodians of national and local economies exposed to rising flood risk, such decision-makers ask: What is the potential climate-related loss now and over the coming decades? How much of that loss can we avert, with what measures? What investment will be required to fund those measures – and will the benefits of that investment outweigh the costs?

    Situated at the confluence of two rivers on England’s North Sea coast, the city of Hull is under constant threat from flooding. In addition to its exposure to freshwater floods after heavy rainfall, Hull is at risk from the impact of strong windstorms and coastal flooding. The area is also economically deprived and under regeneration, which increases its vulnerability. When flooding struck the British Isles in the summer of 2007, Hull was among the worst affected communities despite the relatively good protection package already in place:

    Some 35 000 people –15 percent of the population –were evacuated from their homes. And 7 800 houses, 1 300 businesses, and scores of public buildings were damaged, including 100 schools in Hull and its surrounds. In total, the disaster caused losses of around USD 300 million (GBP 195 million). Luckily many residents had flood insurance and were compensated. But this event was reason enough for the city authorities to look again at strengthening prevention measures, considering what is already at stake today and asking what will be at stake tomorrow?

    To give local decision makers the facts they need to design a cost-effective climate adaptation strategy, Swiss Re – together with other public and private partners – developed a practical methodology on the economics of climate adaptation (ECA). It quantifies the overall risks faced by local communities and assesses the costs and benefits of various adaptation measures in their area. In so doing, the ECA approach seeks to pro-actively manage “total climate risk” based on a rigorous risk assessment. It assesses total climate risk in a given location, taking into account the risk presented by today’s climate, the economic development paths that might put greater population and value at risk in the future and the additional risks driven by climate change. In a second step, the ECA approach proposes a prioritized portfolio of adaptation measures to address total climate risk in the most economically sensible way.

    The implication for city authorities is that Hull would clearly benefit from strengthening its climate resilience. The ECA analysis shows that the combined risk from flooding and wind storms will increase further in a changing climate. While today the annual expected economic loss for Hull amounts to some USD 56 million, economic growth will increase the annual expected loss until 2030 by USD 23 million. Rising sea levels, more storms and rainfall caused by climate change could push this figure up by an additional USD 17 million.

    But the good news is that up to 65% of expected losses can be averted cost-effectively through measures that have net economic benefits! These include flood awareness campaigns, emergency response training, improvement and repair to Hull’s existing sea and river defenses, and mobile protection for household contents through provision of large, waterproof, re-sealable bags to residents.

    Insurance is a less costly option than many other physical prevention measures; it constitutes an important component of the city’s adaptation portfolio to protect assets against the impact of high-severity, low-frequency flood events.

    Any way it’s sliced, climate change is kicking costs up, much higher than if there were no climate change.

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  14. Ed Darrell says:

    So, protest your insurance rates. Swiss Re insures your insurance company against massive losses, and they’ve notified us that rates are going up, partly because of the increasing damage from global warming — not on the threat of global warming on some hypothetical scale, but on the evidence of damage already experienced and payouts already made.

    It would be great news if it were not global warming. That’s not the news.

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  15. David xavier says:

    No , climate change was cited as one of the causes . And why do they cite climate change? here is the operative passage-

    “Climate change is likely to increase
    the risks. In its Special Report on
    “Managing the Risks of Extreme Events
    and Disasters to Advance Climate Change
    Adaptation,” the IPCC suggests that
    scientists are far more confident about
    the effects of climate change on rainfall
    intensities than many other natural disasters,
    including hurricanes and tornadoes.”

    They, Swiss Re, mention climate cahnge because of the IPCC report, but the language used is hardly that of a settled science.

    IPCC report actually says:

    “Projected changes in climate extremes under different emissions scenarios generally do not strongly diverge in the coming two to three decades, but these signals are relatively small compared to natural climate variability over this time frame. Even the sign of projected changes in some climate extremes over this time frame is uncertain”

    So they insert climate cahnge into a report that is meant to justify increasing premiums, even though the source says the opposite. Again AGW is overstated , it is prone to fear mongering and this has produced the AGW catchall fear scam( droughts now floods , all road lead to AGW and evil capitalism).

    On the radio this morning. a study ( using mdelling based in IPCC projection – an did they use the lower range predicitons or the higher range- you guess) ) has revealled that fish will be 24% smaller by 2050. The report was funded by Government. Again , there is an agenda and it is aided by the media …and it aint the truth. Its to manufacture consent.

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