Allianz Flood Claims Top $900 Million; Will Reduce BMW Stake

August 11, 2003

Germany’s Allianz announced that it has now processed nearly all of the claims from last summer’s floods in Germany and Eastern Europe, and has paid more than 805 million euros ($909.65). It also revealed plans to reduce its stake in BMW to 4.5 percent from its current holding of 5.2 percent, as part of its ongoing strategy to shed non-core holdings.

The record-breaking floods hit Allianz particularly hard, as it is the largest carrier in the regions most affected. It also prompted the company to publish a comment on its Web site, www.allianz.com, concerning the changing weather patterns in Europe.

“Last year’s flooding, of a severity that occurs only once in a century, didn’t only cause substantial damage, it also sparked debate about the environment,” said the bulletin. “For some time now, it has not only been experts in the field who have been concerned about whether floods are an unavoidable part of nature, or whether they in fact demonstrate man’s contribution to climate change.”

Following a review of past climactic changes, the article concludes: “the only thing that is certain in the coming years and decades is that uncertainty will increase. Even if we stopped burning coal, oil, gas and wood tomorrow, temperatures would only stop rising by the middle of the century at the earliest. Until then, we have to adapt to strong fluctuations in our climate. Some scientists expect that termites and other tropical wood parasites will establish themselves in Central Europe as a result of climate change, and even that mosquitoes carrying the malaria virus will return here.”

Those aren’t very comforting thoughts, as Europeans continue to swelter in the hottest summer most people have ever seen.

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