Managing climate and natural disaster risk
Losses from floods, storms, earthquakes and other natural catastrophes (nat cat) can have a dramatic impact on the citizens and economies of entire countries. Insurance helps people, businesses and societies to get back on their feet after disaster strikes.
As a result of increased insurance penetration, losses from natural catastrophes are expected to rise. Although insured losses from natural catastrophes were lower in 2014 than in recent years, the number of events was among the highest ever recorded. The expectation is that, as a result of climate change, extreme weather events like hurricanes and floods will increase. Moreover, the economic losses from such events are also expected to rise given a higher concentration of assets in exposed areas. If no action is taken, climate change could cost the world economy an estimated 20% of global GDP by the end of this century.
By financing measures to mitigate disaster risks and adapt to climate change, we can strengthen the resilience of businesses, local and national economies, and societies. As insurance puts a price tag on risk, it helps to create an incentive to invest in prevention measures.
Understanding natural catastrophe risks and the impact of climate change is critical to cost Swiss Re’s business accurately and to structure sound alternative risk transfer solutions. By sharing this knowledge, we help our partners to identify cost-effective measures to protect themselves. In addition, we provide solutions to cover the residual risk that cannot be avoided.
Our notable achievements in 2014:
- We continued to share our data on the potential impact of major nat cat events on cities. Following on from the publication “Mind the risk: a global ranking of cities under threat from natural disasters”, we launched our “Risky cities” publication series in 2014, which provided more detailed data for Los Angeles, Tokyo, Mexico City and Rome;
- We shared our expertise regionally and nationally through the four publications “Small quakes, big impact: lessons learned from Christchurch”, “Keeping tabs on the typhoon threat”, “The big one: The East Coast’s 100 billion dollar hurricane event” and “The risk of tropical cyclones in Brazil”;
- We produced the animated video “Resilient Cities: pathway to a more sustainable future” to explain the benefits of “nat cat proofing” the design of cities (see below).
By taking the right precautionary measures, cities increase their resilience to natural disasters: A papercraft video we produced in 2014 shows how. You can watch the video at swissre.com/urban_resilience.
For more information see Climate and natural disaster risk