Wednesday, April 10, 2019

The Catastrophic Losses of 2018

Last year, the United States experienced the top three largest natural catastrophes in the world with overall losses. The three most significant events were the California Wildfire, Hurricane Michael, and Hurricane Florence. The United States sustained 14 significant weather- and climate-related disaster events in 2018. According to the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (“NOAA”), the overall damage from weather-related catastrophes and climate disasters reached approximately $91 billion.

Wednesday, March 27, 2019

Cyclone Idai Highlights Insurance Needs and Opportunities in Developing Economies

When Cyclone Idai made landfall in the east African countries of Mozambique, Madagascar, Malawi, and Zimbabwe earlier this month, it claimed hundreds of lives, cut off electrical power to millions, damaged or destroyed schools, hospitals, and businesses, and drove innumerable families from their homes. Flooding nearly submerged Mozambique’s fourth-largest city, Beira, a port that serves as a gateway to inland areas of Mozambique, Zimbabwe, and Malawi. The damage is so severe and widespread that Idai ranks among the most devastating cyclones in history.

Thursday, February 28, 2019

The Return of the Bomb Cyclone

A year after a series of “bomb cyclones” struck the United States as reported by my partner Seth Jackson last year, the “bomb cyclone” is back in the news as part of large winter storm that wreaked havoc across the United States earlier this week. As a result of the most recent “bomb cyclone,” it was reported that nearly 650,000 people were without power and more than 80 million people were under high wind advisories.

Wednesday, February 20, 2019

New Lessons from Oroville

Climate Change Creates Evolving Risks for Dam and Reservoir Systems


Two years ago this month, communities along California’s Feather River braced for the worst when the primary spillway at the Oroville Dam failed, and rising waters in the Oroville Reservoir overtopped the dam’s emergency spillway. Catastrophic failure was averted, but in the wake of that crisis, my colleague Dan Millea and other experts urged that the near miss should be a wake-up call about the need to inspect other dams to detect risks of similar failures. At the same time, climatologists speculated about how climate change may have contributed to the incident. Two years later, there is still no precise answer to that question, but experts agree that climate change is altering the environmental stresses for which dams have been designed in the past. Today we urge insurers to consider how climate change creates new and evolving risks to dams and reservoir systems, and the potential impact on the risks they insure.

Continue reading.

Thursday, January 31, 2019

Thursday, November 15, 2018

California Wildfires and Related Insurance Claims Show No Signs of Stopping

“We can’t stop and we won’t stop.” Is this the refrain to a Miley Cyrus song, the creed of the thousands of firefighters currently battling California’s wildfires, or the mantra of the fires themselves? While any self-respecting Miley fan knows these are the lyrics to her hit “We Can’t Stop,” everyone who has seen the footage coming out of the California wildfires knows that the fires have been ferocious in their destruction, and the firefighters have been equally unrelenting in their efforts to contain them. Unfortunately, and fortunately, there is no wrong answer.

Tuesday, October 16, 2018

North Carolina Invokes Its Disaster Mediation Program

The North Carolina Insurance Commissioner has activated the North Carolina Department of Insurance’s Disaster Mediation Program for first party claims in the wake of Hurricane Florence. The Program only becomes available if 1) a state of disaster has been proclaimed (by the Governor or the President) for all or part of North Carolina, within 60 days following the event, and 2) the Commissioner of Insurance subsequently orders Program activation. On September 14, 2018, the President of the United States issued a declaration of disaster for twenty-eight counties in North Carolina. The counties include: Beaufort, Bladen, Brunswick, Carteret, Columbus, Craven, Cumberland, Duplin, Greene, Harnett, Hoke, Hyde, Johnston, Jones, Lee, Lenoir, Moore, New Hanover, Onslow, Pamlico, Pender, Pitt, Richmond, Robeson, Sampson, Scotland, Wayne and Wilson counties. On September 27, 2018, the Commissioner of Insurance issued an order activating the Program. North Carolina has contracted with the American Arbitration Association to act as the Program Administrator.