Storm warning for businesses

5 January 2011
Apparently 2010 recorded the second highest number of natural catastrophes since 1980. A statement this week from insurance company Munich RE said there was a total of 950 natural catastrophes last year, nine-tenths of which were weather-related such as storms and floods. As a result, overall losses amounted to around $130 billion (£83 billion), of which only approximately $37 billion (£24 billion) was insured. This, Munich RE said, puts 2010 among the six most loss-intensive years for the insurance industry since 1980. Torsten Jeworrek, Reinsurance CEO of Munich RE, said 2010 showed the major risks we all have to cope with. “There were a number of severe earthquakes. The hurricane season was also eventful – it was just fortunate that the tracks of most of the storms remained over the open sea. Things could have turned out very differently. “The severe earthquakes and the hurricane season with so many storms demonstrate once again that there must be no slackening of our efforts to analyse these risks in detail and provide the necessary insurance covers at adequate prices. These prices calculated by the insurance industry make it possible to assess the economic consequences of these otherwise difficult-to-evaluate risks.” The company said the high number of weather-related natural catastrophes and record temperatures provide further indications of advancing climate change. With the industry warning risks are likely to continue and potentially increase, so too will risks to business continuity. Supply chain, logistics and manufacturing bases all need to be looked at with this – and the likely increase in insurance costs – in mind in 2011.
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