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2014 Corporate Responsibility Report

Natural catastrophes and man-made disasters

Each year, an early edition of our renowned sigma series provides a detailed analysis of natural catastrophes and related losses witnessed in the previous year. When this sigma edition was published in 2014, the Centre for Global Dialogue held a one-day conference to highlight some of the key findings and strategic issues emerging from the data.

Although the numbers vary from one year to the next, there has been a clear trend: Natural catastrophes are now responsible for more human casualties and higher financial losses than ever before, particularly in densely populated and unprotected locations. In the face of this mounting challenge, the re/insurance industry is looking for ways to better manage natural catastrophe risks.

Re/insurers have developed some very sophisticated models to handle natural catastrophe risks. However, a key theme of the conference discussions was how important it is to make societies and governments more aware of the risks they face, and to make the existing risk expertise available to a wider public. A second focal point was the impact that climate change is having on the frequency and severity of extreme weather events. Conference participants came to the conclusion that tackling these growing challenges requires better cooperation between all the parties involved.