RMS has released its 2017 North Atlantic Hurricane Season Review documenting one of the most active, damaging, and costliest seasons on record. The 2017 season saw a total of 17 named storms, with ten of these storms reaching hurricane strength and occurring consecutively within a hyperactive period between August and October. The season will be remembered for its six major hurricanes and specifically for the impacts of three of these storms: Harvey, Irma, and Maria.
The islands of the Caribbean have a problem. The air and earth around them is unforgiving. They are some of the most hazardous places on the planet.
What makes many of these islands so beautiful and dramatic also reflects the catastrophic processes that have built the terrain — the earthquakes, eruptions, floods, and landslides. And these catastrophic processes in turn affect the island economies.
RMS recently hosted a two-day workshop for the United States Geological Survey (USGS) on March 7-8, based at our Newark headquarters in California. The aim of the workshop was to both discuss and receive feedback from the scientific community on the interim update to the ongoing 2018 USGS National Seismic Hazard Map Project (NSHMP).
RMS works actively with the USGS and the community and has previously hosted USGS workshops to help facilitate scientific discussions and to improve understanding of earthquake hazard. The workshop was well attended by over 150 people from academia, the scientific community, and industry. A summary of the workshop can be found here.
Flood risk is one of the most severe natural hazards in the United States, yet maybe it is one of the least well-managed, and least understood by insurers. It is not surprising that many insurers have chosen to stay on the sidelines of the U.S. flood insurance market, which has been dominated for more than 40 years by the state-backed National Flood Insurance Program (NFIP).
But slowly, the hurdles to private sector involvement are starting to clear, through the combined efforts of the industry, FEMA, and even private citizens. It will be an exciting time for private insurers and Americans if the new flood reform bill, H.R. 2874 passes through the Senate, as measures in the bill include increased acceptance of private flood insurance by mortgage providers, easing of fixed claims limits, and open source access to FEMA’s extensive claims database.
Being prepared for, and recovering quickly from, any catastrophe is one hallmark of ensuring a more safe and resilient society. But in many catastrophe-prone communities around the globe, insurance penetration rates remain stiflingly low and, as a result, building codes are either non-existent, or inconsistently enforced. In Nepal for example, almost 90 percent of the population is without insurance, and both mitigation and recovery efforts after their devastating earthquake in April 2015 are still scaling slowly.
During January, I had the honor of leading a panel discussion at the Eleventh India Rendezvous in Mumbai and was joined by four senior-level executives from leading reinsurers and insurers.
My panelists included (pictured above, seated from left to right): G Satish Raju, Head of South Asia Global Partnerships for Swiss Re; Girija Subramanian, Deputy General Manager at India’s largest domestic reinsurer GIC Re; Amitava Gupta, Lead – Commercial Lines Claims at SBI General Insurance Company Ltd. and Rekha Gopalkrishnan, Deputy General Manager at The New India Assurance.
Across the whole conference, there was much talk about the growth potential in India, with reports stating that the insurance market could quadruple in ten years. But with the economy growing fast, insurance penetration remains a challenge — with a non-life insurance penetration rate hovering around one percent compared to a global average of six percent.
How does the cloud feature in the transformation plan for your business?
If you are a business leader in your organization, perhaps the “cloud” and your cloud strategy has been something left to the IT professionals who are responsible for managing your IT infrastructure.
But as a business leader, you are responsible for setting the transformation agenda in your organization. Across the board, many (re)insurers take advantage of the opportunities presented by digitalization. From online sales and advanced analytics to the Internet of Things — transformation is inevitable. Your ability to compete and secure future wins depends on how well your organization capitalizes on “big data” to balance speed to market, customer delight, and technology costs. Without the cloud, there is no big data.
In my years of contributing to this blog, I have written extensively about the long-standing debate about the current state of hurricane activity in the North Atlantic Basin. This debate has become no clearer following the 2017 hurricane season; one of the busiest and costliest seasons on record. 2017 followed a stretch of below- to near-average seasons that began in 2012 and it is unclear whether future seasons will remain active or return the recent level of relative quiet.
Little more than a week ago, I signed off my previous blog post, discussing storm Eleanor/Burglind, with the following thought:
As the number of minor windstorms impacting Europe this season grows, we are left to wonder how many more “near misses” can we experience before our luck runs out?
At the time, I further noted that:
- One-day-out, the forecasts for Friederike were trending towards lower and lower severities
- As an immature and fast-moving system, these forecasts were subject to high uncertainty
- Eventual losses would be very sensitive to gust speeds experienced in urban areas near to the forecast footprint, such as Rotterdam and Dortmund
In the week since this post, it has become clear that our lucky streak has already come to an end. Storm Friederike (also named David by Météo-France) intensified towards the upper end of the forecast severities in Benelux and Germany, bringing strong gusts to highly populated areas and producing significant insurance losses.
I had the privilege of following Ben Brookes onto the Exceedance main stage in 2015. I can’t remember a word of my talk, but something Ben said while I was watching him from the green room has stayed with me ever since:
“Some, like Aubrey de Grey, believe that the first person to live to 1,000 has already been born.”
If that sounds to you like the claim of an oddball biogerontologist, you’re not alone. I for one remember scratching my head quizzically at the time.
All the same, it certainly got me thinking. If we’re going to live that long, we’re going to need something worthwhile to keep us busy. We’re all going to need to find a purpose; a focus for our energies.