Droughts, floods and hurricanes – extreme weather events are increasing. To what extent are we already affected by climate change? And what role can Allianz play as a global insurance company and risk expert? The defines the requirements and areas of action for us, as a responsible insurer and investor, over the coming years. Simone Ruiz-Vergote, Managing Director of the Allianz Competence Center for Climate Risks and Renewable Energy at Allianz Climate Solutions, and Katharina Latif, Head of the Corporate Responsibility Department of the Allianz Group give details:
Ever more extreme weather conditions are influencing the insurance business. Are these events related to climate change?
Simone Ruiz-Vergote: Not every weather-related catastrophe can be attributed to climate change. Even with Hurricane Harvey in Texas in August 2017, scientists find it difficult to establish clear causal connections because there are many associated variables. What is undisputed, however, is that increases in extreme weather conditions are linked to long-term climate warming.
There has been a fivefold increase in average losses from natural catastrophes worldwide since the 1980s, so the value at stake has increased tremendously. To take 2016, insured damage caused by natural catastrophes amounted to €54 billion euros worldwide – a 42 percent increase on the previous year. Yet this is a reversible trend if measures are taken to enhance societal resilience. Allianz can help, for example, by running a “health check” on a city’s flood management or advising during infrastructure planning processes.