Two new Munich Re publications
"Topics Geo – Annual review: Natural catastrophes 2005" provides a detailed summary and analysis of last year's natural events.
The insurance industry's balance sheets are dominated by tropical cyclones in the North Atlantic. In response to these developments, Munich Re and American Re have brought out a special publication entitled "Hurricanes – More intense, more frequent, more expensive".
"Topics Geo – Annual review: Natural catastrophes 2005"
Losses caused by natural catastrophes in 2005
In January, Winter Storm Erwin, Europe's fifth most expensive storm of the past 50 years, crossed Scotland and southern Scandinavia on a path that took it as far as Russia. Its wind speeds were the highest recorded in Norway for over ten years and in Sweden for over 30 years.
For the first time since its introduction in 1953, the official list of 21 names chosen at the start of the hurricane season was not long enough to cover the 27 severe tropical cyclones that occurred in the Atlantic. The windstorms caused record losses. In late November, Delta became the first tropical cyclone to hit the Canary Islands since records began in 1851.
In August 2005, profuse rainfall caused floods in nearly all countries in the northern Alps. This was the largest loss incurred by the Swiss Natural Perils Pool in its 30-year history.
Mumbai, a megacity on the west coast of India with over 15 million inhabitants, saw almost as much rain within the space of 24 hours as would normally fall in a whole year. The torrential rain swamped many districts of the city up to a depth of 3 metres.
Wildfires, heatwaves, and droughts
The picture was similar in Brazil. The usually water-abundant Amazon Basin experienced its worst drought for over 60 years, with many stretches of river drying up.
"Hurricanes – More intense, more frequent, more expensive"
Effects of the natural oscillation of ocean temperatures
As the current warm phase in the North Atlantic will continue for some years, the increased hurricane risk will also remain with us. Global warming, which is speeding up, could well see tropical cyclones reach southwest Europe in the future.
Torsten Jeworrek, a Munich Re Board member: "All loss records were broken in 2005 – which presents a huge challenge to the insurance industry worldwide. Munich Re will continue to offer clients its know-how and financial strength, but only at prices and conditions which are commensurate with the increasing exposures."
The publications " Topics Geo – Annual review: Natural catastrophes 2005" and " Hurricanes – More intense, more frequent, more expensive" are now available online at www.munichre.com. The printed versions of these publications are scheduled to appear in mid-March 2006.
signed Dr. Jeworrek signed Küppers
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