In a just released report – “Topics Geo — Natural catastrophes 2006” – Munich Re maintains that “continuing unfavorable natural climate cycle and additional effects of global warming will increase the risk of hurricanes in the current and forthcoming years.”
The Group’s Geo Risks Research experts concluded that “special meteorological factors such as dust particles from the Sahara and the El Niño climate phenomenon hampered hurricane formation” in 2006. As a result there were relatively few major losses caused by tropical cyclones.
Dr. Torsten Jeworrek, a Munich Re Board member, noted that these findings have been incorporated into the reinsurer’s risk management strategy. He stressed, however: “We have no doubt that climate change and growing concentrations of values will boost demand for insurance cover in the long run.” He indicated that the Group is prepared to deal with those risks.
“Munich Re has been analyzing the consequences of climate change and resultant risks for more than 30 years,” the bulletin continued. “Recent publications such as the reports by economist Sir Nicholas Stern and by the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC) confirm the conclusions of our Geo Risks Research Department. Not least with the signing of the joint statement by the Global Roundtable on Climate Change (GRoCC) chaired by leading economist Jeffrey Sachs (Columbia University, New York), Munich Re affirms its commitment to international agreements on the sustained reduction of greenhouse gas emissions.”
In its review of 2006 Munich Re said that economic losses due to natural catastrophes were around $50 billion with approximately $15 billion being insured, “barely a quarter the figure for 2005, the most expensive natural catastrophe year ever with losses in the region of $219 billion.”
The year’s most devastating natural catastrophe was the earthquake that struck Indonesia close to the city of Yogyakarta on May 26, 2006. More than 5,700 people lost their lives. The report notes that although the economic losses were around $ 3.1 billion, insured losses amounted to a fraction of that – $35 million.
Munich Re’s new publication also analyses the snow pressure losses of the 2005/2006 winter and draws conclusions about Cyclone Larry, the most severe tropical cyclone ever to hit the Australian coast. Other articles feature the typhoon season in the Pacific, the Java tsunami, and climate observations for 2006.
“Topics Geo — Natural catastrophes 2006” can be downloaded from Munich Re’s web site at: www.munichre.com, or ordered in print version.
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