Hurricane season has ended this year. Thankfully there were no Katrinas, which caused over $50 billion in insured losses.
We were fortunate to have a relatively typical Atlantic hurricane season with the number and duration of storms “very close to the averages one expects for an Atlantic hurricane season.” This was thanks to a confluence of unusual factors – including a “rapidly growing El Nino” that typically makes it hard for Atlantic hurricanes to form.
But while individual hurricane seasons are difficult to predict because of such factors, the trend is clear: Hurricane Katrina is exactly the kind of extreme weather event we expect to see more and more of thanks to our inaction on climate change. And sea level rise will only complicate efforts to protect coastal cities from major hurricanes.
A recent article in Plenty magazine weighs in on the “risky business” that will continue to confront the insurance industry as climate change feeds extreme weather conditions. Two reports (here and here) conclude that insurance companies are not appropriately preparing for the environmental and health consequences of climate change.