Regardless of its source, the insurance industry has become keenly aware of the impact climate change is having on natural disasters. Janet Retloff, of ScienceNews.org, reports that worldwide, “[n]atural disasters in 2011 exerted the costliest toll in history — a whopping $380 billion worth of losses from earthquakes, floods, tornadoes, hurricanes, wildfires, tsunamis and more.” Reloff adds that the most costly event last year was the earthquake/tsunami disaster that hit Japan.
Over the past 30 years, scientists have tracked the increase in natural disasters and determined the following:
. . .the numbers of storms, droughts and wildfires. These weather and climate-related events have been climbing steadily since 1980, increasing in number, severity (such as average wind intensity) and often in lives lost.
Regarding the tornadoes, Retloff notes that,
[T]he late April tornadoes in Alabama and May twister in Joplin together racked up $6 billion in damage catapulting these events into the top 10 costliest natural catastrophes in U.S. history.
And as my fellow Texans are aware, Texas experienced more than its fair share of disasters in 2011:
Texans have suffered through the worst wildfire year on record, fueled by a persistent drought. Throughout the spring of 2011, more than 3 million acres of west Texas ignited, destroying more than 200 homes and businesses (insured collectively for $50 million). In September, fires near San Antonio destroyed more than 1,600 additional homes (insured for $530 million).
According to the article, insurance companies take climate change very seriously. For much of the industry, global change issues have moved to the front and center of its radar screen. Because the insurance industry is closely monitoring climate change and its impact on natural disasters, I advise you do the same and to learn how your area might be affected.