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The hurricane's economic climate change

Extreme events put pressure to the accounts of the results of the insurance companies

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The hurricane's economic climate change

"how Much it will cost to insure now a villa in Florida keys?", questions Carlos González-Antón, professor of Administrative Law at University of León. This lawyer specializing in environmental law raises this question to air a week after hurricane Irma had hit Florida and caribbean islands. Its effects, finally, have not been so disastrous as was anticipated. And insurance companies are on radar of investors to analyze how y affect se phenomena in ir accounts.

These extremes of wear are a real trouble for insurance industry. "Hurricanes cause destruction significant as a result of wind damage, tidal surges and flooding. The fact that scientists warning of more severe storms in future is truly alarming to insurance companies", explains Patrick mac sharry, member of Smith School of Enterprise and Environment University of Oxford. "Hurricane Katrina [2005] generated insured losses of a total of 96,000 million dollars and re have been ten hurricanes that have caused insured losses of more than 10,000 million dollars," adds mac sharry, who, besides working in academic field, he advises private sector, "where are growing concerns about economic impacts of climate change."

  • rain of Harvey overflows reservoirs of Houston
  • Trump withdraws U.S. from Paris Agreement to combat climate change

But, how does global warming affect hurricane —generated in Atlantic and typhoons — Pacific—? "Climate change affects all aspects of time: challenge is to figure out exactly how. For increase of temperature and sea level rise, impacts are known reasonably well. For everything else, it still needs a little more research," points Seteve Jewson, manager of company, RMS, that is dedicated to advise on financial impact of climatic disasters to businesses, mainly insurance companies.

"we Know that one of effects that climate change is having is increase of temperature of oceans," adds Juan A. Añel, doctor in Physical Sciences and Ramón y Cajal researcher of University of Vigo. And for a hurricane forms, it is necessary "a high enough temperature of surface of ocean," he says. "Therefore, climate change increases odds of generating hurricanes and y are stronger," says Añel, who has also worked in field of financial risk of extreme events.

One of agencies, pioneers in monitoring of hazards economics of climate change is Bank of England, that semi-annual reports of assessment of this problem. By end of 2015 performed an analytical essay on insurance sector. And it warned that insured losses —which are covered by policies— has skyrocketed in past 30 years, going from 10,000 to millions of dollars per year in eighties to 50,000 in past decade.

And se figures fall short after last event ends. The company RMS estimates that, in case of Harvey — or hurricane that hit US in August— losses insured will be between 25,000 and 35,000 million dollars only in Texas and Louisiana.

"re Probably will not be any industry that is looking at and thinking about effects of climate change such as insurance," explains Jewson. "As scientific modeling to improve insurance industry will begin to charge more for additional risk of climate change," says mac sharry. "The maps of flood risk in Uk are already affecting housing prices," adds this british researcher.

Interestingly, se two major hurricanes —Irma and Harvey— have struck a country in which fight against climate change —at least from White House— is in decline after departure, which was decided by Donald Trump of Paris Agreement. Can this mean start of a legal battle against Authorities that do not act against warming? "In U.S. some individuals have already sued States for lack of foresight and action against climate change", explains professor Gonzalez-Anton. "Although results are not conclusive yet."

mac sharry, by looking at insurance sector, highlights positive experiences of public-private collaboration. But he adds: "In situations where Governments openly deny climate change and ignore all evidence scientists, certainly re will be scope for legal battles over who pays for economic losses". "This will test our legal systems".

"Some small island States want to use path of legal action," explains Jewson in respect of countries most affected by increase in level of sea, which, in your opinion, is greatest risk to warming in long term. However, Jewson believes that path of litigation will not be followed by insurance industry, which is working to raise awareness "to Governments around world about risks and prevention". "Looking for more collaboration than litigation," he notes.

Collaboration, for example, to cover large "gap protection" that exists. "Many people exposed to disasters are not covered by insurance," he warns Jewson. "In U.S. we saw in aftermath of hurricane Harvey, which many people do not have flood insurance. There are similar problems with respect to insurance against earthquakes in USA and insurance of all kinds in China and in developing countries", he concludes.


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