Swiss Re Calls for Public/Private Coordination to Tackle Nat Cat Costs

August 28, 2009

Swiss Re is intensifying its efforts to urge governments to take a “more joined-up approach to managing risk.”

At a recent conference in Helsinki, Swiss Re, through its Nordic Risk & Insurance Summit (NORIS™), to suggest how governments can improve the way they tackle large-scale disasters and work more closely with insurers to deal with crises quickly and cost-effectively.

The matter takes on new urgency, as Swiss Re expects winter storm risk “to double in some parts of Scandinavia by the end of the century.”

Swiss Re is also aiming to raise awareness of the need to close the gap between economic and insured losses. The reinsurer pointed out that “insurance covers only a fraction of total losses from natural catastrophes. In 2008, natural catastrophes globally caused total losses around $259 billion, of which $44.7 billion (around 17 percent) were covered by insurance.

At a press briefing Swiss Re’s Chief Risk Officer, Raj Singh, explained: “Our risk landscape is constantly evolving, and risks are highly inter-connected. As the financial crisis has shown, the risks we face can change suddenly and unpredictably. But while economic risks are high on the radar in 2009, we must not ignore the long-term horizon.”

“In the years ahead, climate change is one of the major risks to be confronted by the insurance industry, companies, governments and the general public. It’s well known and accepted that due to global warming, an increase in natural catastrophes like storms, floods and droughts, both in frequency and severity, has to be expected. But there are other impacts such as effects on public health, and consequences such as food security and possible human conflict,” he will warn.

The complete report on the conference and Swiss Re’s initiatives may be obtained on the reinsurer’s web site at:

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