Atlas Magazine February 2007

Growing dangers

The 2007 start is taking the shape of a disaster scenario whose topic would be: the planet is going “nuts” and insurers are losing their heads.

The never-ending summer is stretching to January. Never before,as long as one can remember, have we witnessed this! Vegetations whose growth rhythm is being turned upside down and migratory birds not knowing where to go nesting, …

And all of a sudden, we got a first a warning shot. As we were getting used to the unseasonable warmth, an abrupt and violent storm sweeps northern Europe leaving behind a trail of devastation, death, floods, ship wrecking and pollution hazards.

Climate hazard is undoubtedly the big issue. The alarmist forecasts of both meteorologists and scientists are mounting additional pressure among insurance professionals.

Lloyd's Chairman is forecasting a catastrophe of unprecedented scale to come and warns governments against inconsistent attitudes towards the threat. Similar wake up calls have been launched elsewhere.

The business is already on the front line. Shaken by the previous losses, the two big American insurers State Farm and Allstate are abstaining from underwriting contracts for dwellings located in highly exposed areas on the Atlantic coast. This move is very likely to widely spread. If the insurance business is disengaging, who else will then be entrusted with this risk in the future?

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