ITL FOCUS: Catastrophic Weather

ITL FOCUS is a monthly initiative featuring topics related to innovation in risk management and insurance.



Catastrophic Weather


Living in Northern California, I find myself pretty much in the wildfire capital of the world these days. Some days in late summer it was so grey outside that it felt like I was in Mordor. And many nearby areas have been hit far harder. Lake Tahoe, one of the most beautiful areas in the world, was covered in smoke so thick for much of August that breathing was downright dangerous.

Sadly, the lousy air and the wildfires that cause it represent just one of the many threats from catastrophic weather these days. In an unusually active season for Atlantic storms, Hurricane Ida not only hammered Louisiana (hit by five named storms in 2020, including two hurricanes) but followed through and caused massive flooding that killed dozens in the Northeast. A "heat dome" that descended on British Columbia in June raised temperatures as high as 121 degrees and killed more than 500 people -- one town just spontaneously incinerated. More than 650,000 farm animals also died. And that's just the beginning of the list of catastrophic weather events, even though the examples are only from North America.

In the face of all these problems, insurers are doing what insurers do: helping identify, quantify and mitigate the risks, while making customers whole when disasters strike. Insurers are also increasingly digging further into the roots of the problem. As you'll see in the articles we've highlighted for this month, insurers are focusing more on how to raise the alarm about climate change and on how to make the world more resilient in the face of the challenges that we face today and that are surely coming.

We have a very long way to go, and there's no easy solution -- nobody is going to throw a ring into Mount Doom and suddenly lift the pall that sometimes settles outside my window. But I hope the articles and this month's interview provoke you a bit and help raise the level of debate. 


Paul Carroll, ITL’s Editor-in-Chief


Making the World More Resilient

In this webinar, ITL Editor-in-Chief Paul Carroll sits down with Chris Wei, Chairman of the Executive Council of the International Insurance Society and a longtime senior executive at Aviva. In advance of the IIS annual forum on Sept. 27-29, they explore how the industry can help drive a sustainable global recovery.


Resilience Ratings: Triple-I Unveils Way to Measure Communities’ Risk Levels

Peter Drucker once famously said that “what gets measured gets managed,” and the Insurance Information Institute is unveiling measures for U.S. communities’ resilience against natural disasters. In this webinar, ITL Editor-in-Chief Paul Carroll and the Triple-I’s senior economist, Michel Leonard, discuss what the measures cover, how individuals and communities can use them and where the Triple-I will take them from here.



As part of this month’s ITL FOCUS on catastrophic weather, we spoke with Christopher McDaniel of the Catastrophe Resiliency Council on how the industry is banding together to establish data standards that will help tackle the problem.

Read the Full Interview


What Future Will We Choose?

The industry needs to stop wishing others could see the critical role we can play in preparing for climate change and just start playing that role.

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How Insurers Can Step Up on Climate Change

With the coming UN conference on climate change, the insurance industry has a historic opportunity to take a seat at the main table.

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Arrogance and Nature’s Deadly Hand

Four years ago, almost no large companies were thinking about the impact of climate change on their businesses. Finally, many are.

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How to Get Ahead of Wildfire Risk

Using data and analytics solutions, insurers can monitor and mitigate wildfire risk, finally taking the guesswork out of a fast-moving, elusive problem.

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What the Recent Deep Freeze Portends

The loss from the Arctic blast seems likely to be the largest in history, by a wide margin, because it caused a compounding event.

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Geomagnetic Storm for Insurance?

A geomagnetic solar storm could create havoc; the recent freeze in the Deep South showed how disruptive a failure of the electric grid can be.

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Insurance Thought Leadership

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Insurance Thought Leadership

Insurance Thought Leadership (ITL) delivers engaging, informative articles from our global network of thought leaders and decision makers. Their insights are transforming the insurance and risk management marketplace through knowledge sharing, big ideas on a wide variety of topics, and lessons learned through real-life applications of innovative technology.

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