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Cat modeller predicts rising wind claims

Climate change on planet Earth has brought an increasing number of more powerful and destructive hurricanes. And global warming will drive more of the same, and determine the magnitude of the increase.

This is the analysis of a Karen Clark and Company (KCC) white paper, Climate Change Impacts on Hurricanes and Insured Wind Losses.

The catastrophe modelling company said that the global proportion of big hurricanes — tropical cyclones that register as Category 3-5 intensity on the Saffir-Simpson scale — has increased over the past several decades.

KCC was laying out for the (re)insurance industry the impact of climate change on storms and quantifying what it means for insured wind losses.

The paper also incorporates climate change in the KCC US Hurricane Reference Model Version 3.0.

The catastrophe risk modeller’s highlights of the white paper include:

• The average global temperature has already increased by 1.1C relative to 100 years ago

• Tropical cyclone intensity has increased with the warming climate, leading to a shift towards a higher proportion of big hurricanes

• This shift in hurricane intensity has led to an estimated increase in insured losses of about 11 per cent above what the loss potential would have been in the absence of climate change.

• Global temperatures are projected to increase by an additional 0.4C to 1.3C by 2050

• Average annual hurricane wind losses will increase an additional 10 to 19 per cent by 2050

The paper’s conclusions for catastrophe (re)insurers suggest rising claims, based on scientific consensus and extrapolation into the future, based on expected increases in global temperatures and the belief that tropical cyclone intensity is increasing because of global climate change.

The report concludes: “This is causing a shift in hurricane intensity away from the weak hurricanes and towards the more intense, major hurricanes rather than an overall increase in the frequency of tropical cyclones.

“Global temperature has increased by 1.1C since 1900 and is projected to increase another 0.4 to 1.3C by 2050 depending on the emissions scenario.

“The KCC US Hurricane Reference Model Version 3.0 is based on a climate-adjusted catalogue of US landfalling hurricanes that best represents the impacts of climate change to date.

“Insured wind losses are 11 per cent higher today on average due to already observed climate change. KCC scientists developed the KCC Future Climate Catalogs (FCCs) to provide (re)insurers with credible estimates of how future climate change will impact insured losses.

“Future increases in losses depend on the time horizon and emission scenarios. Insured loss potential has already increased by 11 per cent, and future increases in average annual losses will likely range from 10 to 19 per cent by 2050, with larger increases at the lower return periods.“

The KCC FCCs were developed for 2025, 2030, and 2050 to provide decision-makers with near and long-term views of risk from climate change.

Although the white paper illustrates just the expected increases in wind losses because of climate change, future research will detail climate change impacts on inland and coastal flooding.

Category 4 Hurricane Igor is seen in this 2010 photograph taken by NASA astronaut Doug Wheelock from the International Space Station

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Published November 15, 2021 at 7:52 am (Updated November 15, 2021 at 7:52 am)

Cat modeller predicts rising wind claims

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