• 2010: a year of costly disasters

    Altogether, a total of 950 natural catastrophes were recorded last year, nine-tenths of which were weather-related events like storms and floods; this total makes 2010 the year with the second-highest number of natural catastrophes since 1980, markedly exceeding the annual average for the last ten years (785 events per year); the overall losses amounted to around $130 billion, of which approximately $37 billion was insured; the five “great natural catastrophes” of 2010 — the earthquakes in Haiti (1/12), Chile (2/27), and central China (4/13), the heat wave in Russia (July to September), and the floods in Pakistan (July to September) — claimed approximately 295,000 lives

  • Who is the culprit in the Queensland floods: man or nature?

    Climate change may contribute to the intensification of natural disasters, but the major drivers of the rapidly rising costs of natural disasters — in Australia and around the world — are societal changes such as increases in population, wealth, and inflation, not climate change; the only way to reduce the scale of future disasters in Australia are risk-informed land planning policies with risks appropriately priced by an active insurance market; in simple terms, for flood and bushfire, this means an end to unmanaged development of flood plains or within bushlands

  • U.S.: hundreds of levees no longer safe -- property owners to pay flood insurance

    To keep a levee accredited, local governments or other responsible parties must certify that it can handle a flood so severe that it has a 1 percent chance of occurring each year; FEMA has revoked its accreditation of hundreds of levees nationwide, concluding that they no longer meet its standards that ensure protection during major floods, a decision that forces thousands of property owners to buy federal flood insurance

  • Cybersecurity insurance gains more adherents

    With so many large U.S. companies suffering security breaches — and with companies losing an average of $234,000 per breach in 2009 — more consideration is being given to cybersecurity insurance; a crashed server policy is not as easy to write as a crashed car policy

  • Insuring cities against terrorist attacks

    Do small towns really need to spend money for terrorism insurance? To collect on such policies, an act of terrorism has to be certified by the U.S. attorney general, the Department of the Treasury and the secretary of state; there also has to be at least $5 million in damage and an intent to coerce or influence U.S. policy; nuclear, biological, chemical, and radiological attacks are excluded

  • Demand for stand-alone terrorism coverage down

    Reinsurers would like to place more terrorism business, but the demand for stand-alone terrorism coverage is on the wane; the market could tighten if the Obama administration proceeds with its plan to scale back the federal government’s terrorism insurance backstop, which has been in place since 2002

  • National insurance for natural disasters: a necessity or "beach house bailout"

    Supporters of national disaster insurance program say it is better to plan ahead than do a bailout after a natural disaster; opponents say it would be a subsidy for owners of coastal mansions and encourage people to live in disaster-prone areas

  • What to do about high-seas piracy?

    The debate intensifies over what to do about the growing problem of piracy on the high seas; here is a sample of the points being discussed

  • Insurers are warned to prepare for hurricane season

    NOAA updated forecast calls for 12 to 16 named storms between 1 June and 30 November; says Impact Forecasting’s Steven Drews: “insurance and reinsurance buyers must remember that any storm can cause massive destruction”

  • Forecast: The Big One is coming

    Geologists say that there is a 99.7 percent chance a magnitude 6.7 quake or larger will strike by 2037; California is one of the most seismically active regions in the world, where more than 300 faults crisscross the state

  • Debate over data security breach insurance continues

    With more and more stories about data security breaches at major companies with millions of customers, the question arises: Should companies, as part of their business continuity plan, take out data security breach insurance? Industry insiders, analysts offer a range of opinions