In the last month there has been an outcry by members of Congress, states and the insurance industry [subscription required] to wake up and begin preparing for more large scale and extreme weather events.
Illinois Senator Dick Durban commented early last week that it’s time we acknowledge the obvious fact that our climate is changing, and it’s time we do something about it.
We’ve already begun to see cases of extreme weather in 2012; the tornados that swept across southern Illinois, Kentucky and other areas in the south last week are a harsh reminder of the effects of extreme weather.
Thus far, we’ve experienced 4 times the average number of tornadoes for this time of the year (approximately 274 compared to an average of 50). And, if you consider the weather events of last year, you can understand why we need to be concerned: floods, droughts, hurricanes and snowstorms headlined the news both nationally and internationally.
Recently the Geneva Association, a European insurance think tank, released a new report Extreme Events and Insurance: 2011 annus horribilis, urging both the insurance industry and governments to seriously consider the threats posed by extreme weather, particularly in large urban areas.
The report warns that the frequency of natural loss events has been escalating since the 1980s explains the importance of coordinating efforts to reduce emissions, discourage risky development, and pursue stronger building standards.
The losses from extreme weather events worldwide in 2011 topped $380 billion, with insurers paying $105 billion. The escalating cost relief and recovery from disasters of this magnitude will have ruinous effect on our economy. We need to plan ahead, protect our communities, and save money by adapting to these new weather patterns. Extreme events like this will continue to occur.