Mark Bove appears on New York Times "Business Day Live

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22 June 2012 | In The News

Munich Re’s Mark Bove appears on New York Times “Business Day Live“

Discusses impact of wildfires

Geoscience Research Specialist Mark Bove provided the industry perspective to a feature on California wildfires that appeared on the New York Times program Business Day Live.

While fires that don't endanger people or structures may be allowed to simply burn out and incur little cost, fires in close proximity to population centers can cost into the millions of dollars. The fire near Fort Collins, Colorado that was the subject of the Business Day Live report has already cost federal and state agencies close to US$ 20m – funds that they no longer have available for other services within their communities.

Bove explained that 2011 was the costliest year on record for natural disaster. The Japanese earthquake and tsunami cost about US$ 35bn in insured loss. Economic losses were much higher, in the hundreds of millions of dollars from that event. Other large events included the Christchurch earthquake in New Zealand, large floods in Thailand and the severe thunderstorm season experienced in the United States.

Insurers and reinsurers play a vital role in helping individuals and society recover from catastrophe. Beyond that, Bove pointed out, the industry constantly seeks ways to reduce and manage such risks.

Building in harm's way

Over the past 30 years, said Bove, populations in areas at risk have increased. And while materials and techniques for building structures that can better withstand weather-related catastrophe have improved significantly, construction standards and building codes have not necessarily kept pace.

Property insurers and reinsurers, he continued, are leading efforts toward better, safer building standards by supporting research efforts by organizations like the Insurance Institute for Business and Home Safety.

Munich Re's Mark Bove describes the impact of natural disasters like wildfires.

“As we continue to build in harms way, we should build using standards and materials that can better withstand weather-related catastrophes.”

Mark Bove, Geoscience Research Specialist

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