Over-insuring the gullible: The Hartford offers ‘extreme weather insurance’

UPDATE: graph of damage losses including 2012 posted below. It says all that needs to be said.

This ad is running in rotation at the NYT today, and it needs an application of Dr. Roger Pielke Jr.’s handy bullshit button.

Hartford_ad

Steve Milloy writes at junkscience.com:

Insurers know that bad weather comes and goes… and after it comes, it’s not likely to come again for a long time… that’s why they’re called “100-year” storms.

Click for the Hartford’s “Weathering the Storm” web site.

There at that website they write:

Superstorm Sandy devastates the east coast with heavy winds and storm surges that flood major cities and shorelines while dumping record snow in West Virginia and knocking out power as far away as Cleveland, OH.

Unpredictable weather seems to be the new norm.

I call BS on that last sentence.

Sandy was not only predicted, many meteorologists nailed the path well in advance.  In fact, some have called it ‘Their finest hour’:

From CCM Mike Smith:

Here is the European computer model’s forecast made at 2pm last Wednesday. It shows a hurricane near the coast of New Jersey or DelMarVa yesterday evening. The computer models showed more and more of the details of this ferocious storm as the time grew nearer.

The U.S. models didn’t do well, at first, taking the storm out to sea. But, human forecasters at AccuWeather and elsewhere put their knowledge and experience to work and leaned on the European heavily to get preliminary warnings and preparatory advice 4.5 days in advance. Those forecasts stayed consistent and got more detailed as time passed. By Saturday, we were predicting the flooding of the subway and two airports in NYC.

You’d think The Hartford insurance group would have experts for this and would have looked at the IPCC SREX report. But then again, they may just be out for gouging profiting at the expense of the stupid.

Dr Roger Pielke Jr observes:

===============================================================

The full IPCC Special Report on Extremes is out today, and I have just gone through the sections in Chapter 4 that deal with disasters and climate change. Kudos to the IPCC — they have gotten the issue just about right, where “right” means that the report accurately reflects the academic literature on this topic. Over time good science will win out over the rest — sometimes it just takes a little while.

A few quotable quotes from the report (from Chapter 4):

  • “There is medium evidence and high agreement that long-term trends in normalized losses have not been attributed to natural or anthropogenic climate change”

  • “The statement about the absence of trends in impacts attributable to natural or anthropogenic climate change holds for tropical and extratropical storms and tornados”

  • “The absence of an attributable climate change signal in losses also holds for flood losses”

The report even takes care of tying up a loose end that has allowed some commentators to avoid the scientific literature:

“Some authors suggest that a (natural or anthropogenic) climate change signal can be found in the records of disaster losses (e.g., Mills, 2005; Höppe and Grimm, 2009), but their work is in the nature of reviews and commentary rather than empirical research.”

He was prescient with this:

You may find yourself having to use the bullshit button in locations that are supposed to be credible, such as Nature Climate Change and the New York Times.

But, I’ll bet he didn’t think it would be used on advertising.

===============================================================

If I were a Hartford customer, I’d be on the phone with my agent, and not to order additional insurance.

UPDATE: Pielke Jr. adds this. 2012 was no Katrina year.

The graph above shows an updated estimate of the 1900 to 2012 normalized hurricane losses for the United States. The normalization methodology is described in Pielke et al. 2008 (here in PDF) and the data presented in the graph comes from the ICAT Damage Estimator, which extends the analysis of Pielke at al. through 2011.

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61 thoughts on “Over-insuring the gullible: The Hartford offers ‘extreme weather insurance’

  1. Would be funny (in a coincidental fassion) if enough people ordered the extra insurance and there was another Sandy type storm (Cat 1 Hurricane at high tide) that struck the area, then the Hartford had to pay out. I bet the insurance would vanish the following year with all remaining insurance contracts cancelled. Storms hav been known to strike twice in a season.

  2. Hmm yes, there are quite a number of new insurances developing, some mandatory with penalties for skeptics and punishment for the resistant.

    Taleb explains well the utility of insurance for Black Swan events.

  3. Roger Pielke Jnr has previously observed that Reinsurance businesses usually more than make up for losses incurred in a major disaster in the following year. Partly this is by raising the premiums, but also due to people taking out extra insurance. He has also pointed out that a large Reinsurance companies – Munich Re – has a climate change department that puts out alarmist reports. This encourages people to over-insure, generating pure profits for the recipient.

    http://rogerpielkejr.blogspot.co.uk/2012/10/op-ed-on-climate-change-and-disasters.html

    The leaked Draft AR5 SPM has similar statements about a lack of link between extreme weather and climate change. For instance Page 3 Lines 46-48

    Changes in many extreme weather and climate events have been observed, but the level of confidence in these changes varies widely depending on type of extreme and regions considered. Overall the most robust global changes are seen in measures of temperature {FAQ 2.2, 2.6} (see Table SPM.1).

    In on Page 4 Line 14 there is an admission that previous IPCC reports got it wrong on tropical cyclones getting more extreme. A consensus of the world’s leading experts do not agree with the likes of Prof Lewandowsky that Sandy was a likely result of global warming.

  4. I worked with some people who got me with a button one day.

    Walking into the lab one day I heard this voice say “Here comes that guy from [department].”

    They’d modified a Staples button to be able to record and playback a voice.

    IIRC they had to spend $30. on parts to make their prototype. Perhaps there’s a market at production volume prices. Or less for single message, which is what Staples’ device does?

  5. “Never give a sucker an even break” W.C. Fields

    I can visualize it now: the Hartford agent sits down with the prospect and proceeds to frighten them with the doomsday talk. When their sphincters have reached the desired tension, he pulls out the pen and points to the dotted line. Reminds one of the old song:

    “Rolls in, rolls in, my God how the money rolls in, rolls in”

    The other insurance companies will not be far behind, I promise.

  6. The insurance is a gullibility tax.
    Scientists say that CO2 acts like a blanket evening out temperature. Indeed the north pole [but not the south pole ] is warming faster than the topics so storms should e and are milder !

    Thermodynamics says that wind speed is proportional to the difference of temperature not absolute temperature !

    Remember the fastest winds in th solar system are on Neptune where it is close to absolute zero !

  7. Maybe the message is “Don’t buy Insurance, buy shares in Insurance companies”.
    On the other hand, maybe there are tiny signs that the dam can’t hold much longer and that the truth will start to appear in MSM.

  8. It is 60 yrs since the spate of New England hurricanes in the 50s. I have used the 60 year (or so) guide for droughts, floods, heatwaves, rain snow, wildfires, storms, cold NW US, etc. With some success and I comment frequently on ths subject. McKibben even crowed about the recent drought in US being the worst since the 30s.

    Please sceptics, don’t be caught out smugly pooh-poohing this. If we don’t recognize this cycle, then it gets hijacked with success by the alarmists. If Hartford’s insurance isn’t outrageous, it could be a good gamble.

    Answer this question: are we never to see a spate of.50s type NE fall hurricanmes again? If so, when? What about wildfires, tornadoes, floods…? Surely the Pielkes aren’t unaware of this likelihood. We’ve gotten so numbed dealing with where the alarmists are going that we have adopted a nothing-extreme-is-going-to-happen-ever-again stance. With this, catastrophists are going to end up ‘right’ and will have wind in their sails for another generation while we will be belatedly protesting ineffectually that its really just cycles while we are being forced to buiuld a windmill in our back yard. Does anyone here get this?

  9. One should consider classifying the quotation from Junkscience.com as BS as well. The author has misinterpreted what “100 year event” means. It is absolutely false that after a 100-year event we should not expect another such for a long time. Over a very long period of time 100-year events should have a recurrence rate of one per 100 years–but two such events could occur together. The run of hurricanes on southern New England in the 1930s is probably a good example.

  10. I have a question or brian teaser for the experts here on WUWT.

    In artical at the CBC and listed on the Tom Watsons blog there is a statement that the Kyoto protocol was suppose to reduce co2 by 5% based on 1990 levels and instead we have an increase of 58%. See the excerpt below.

    “The controversial and ineffective Kyoto Protocol’s first stage comes to an end today, leaving the world with 58 per cent more greenhouse gases than in 1990, as opposed to the five per cent reduction its signatories sought.”

    If the co2 level in 1990 was 353 and the current level is 392 how are they getting the percentages stated above?

    Brian teaser…

    Thank you for your help in advance. I just want to know if this is BS or if I am missing something in my calculations which show nothing close to 58% even if I try and play with how they might be computing the number for example adding in the assumed savings of 5% which equates to 17.6 ppm to the delta between 352 ppm in 1990 versus the 2012 levels of 392 ppm’s.

    John S.

    Reply: You are confusing emissions goals with atmospheric concentration. They are not the same number. ~ mod

  11. “2012 is currently on record as having the most extreme temperatures of any year since such recordkeeping began in 1910.” (Source: the National Climatic Data Center (NCDC), as of September 1, 2012.)
    —–
    Is this statement from thehartford.com true? By “most extreme temperatures” do they mean highest temperatures? When I first read it, I thought they were saying that 2012 would be the warmest year since record keeping began. But I suppose “extreme temperatures” could also include extreme cold temperatures. So are they saying 2012 broke the most temperature records (hot or cold) since 1910? Does anyone know what the NCDC meant by this statement? Is there any truth to it?

  12. If they believed extreme weather was going to be as widespread as they claim, they wouldn’t insure against it, any more than they currently insure against flood damage for buildings in known flood plains.

  13. There’s nothing wrong with people buying insurance. It’s all in the premiums. A low risk should be mated with a low premium. If there’s any industry is not made up of fools it’s the insurance industry so I wouldn’t really worry too much about people being taken advantage of. If the premiums are too high another carrier will compete with lower premiums.

    As most of us know its only when the government gets involved that things really get messed up.

  14. @john

    “If the co2 level in 1990 was 353 and the current level is 392 how are they getting the percentages stated above?”

    My guess is that they are talking about anthropogenic CO2.

  15. John says:
    December 31, 2012 at 11:17 am

    I have a question ….

    That could be correct in diplomatic terms.
    Internationally it may be 5% less then what it would have been had no action been taken. We’d never really know, you can take all sorts of scenarios to prove that point or to disprove it for that matter.

    Most of the signatory nations can indeed claim reductions in CO2 output, the dirty industries just got exported to non signatory countries, problem solved.

    The key to such protocols is to make sure that you satisfy the majority of parties, the greens were happy with the “binding” agreement on reductions. Industry in the signatory countries were happy as they finally had the “out” they needed to move these plants to non signatory low wage countries, something they wanted to do for ages to remain competitive but found hard to justify politically at their national level.
    Kyoto was a great win for democracy, the majority got something they wanted, even though they were seemingly opposites. And when if it does not play out as per the “agreement”? That was many presidents and elections ago. How can we hold the current crop of politicos to account for what was signed then? And really: who cares?
    Politicians can always sign another agreement with other “binding” (but meaningless) terms.
    After all it is the taxpayer footing the bill.

    Happy new year to all.

  16. Next thing you know Loyds of London will be charging a premium for ships or planes moving through the Bermuda Triangle.

  17. When I want to compare dollar amounts from the past with dollar amounts today, I divide the past amount by 20 then multiply by the current price of an ounce of gold. Before FDR, one ounce of gold was used to make a $20 gold piece and was worth (duh) $20.
    Maybe not the most accurate approach but it’s a quick and easy comparison when some disaster story tries use $ amounts to say how much worse things are now.

  18. Unpredictable weather seems to be the new norm.

    I’d send back those new super-duper-computers then, if, as this statement suggests, the weather used be be predictable by the crimatologists.

  19. I’m afraid I can’t fault Hartford here.

    The Free Market is all about selling people what they want and what they (think) they need ant a price they (believe) they can afford to pay. As a Natural Born Socialist, I don’t personally agree with that philosophy but that’s the way of the Market.

    If people are gullible enough to believe that they need special insurance for exreme weather created by AGW then someone is going to satisfy that need. As long as they actually provide what they’re being paid for for (ie: as long as they actually pay up IF the extreme weather materialises) then they’re only doing what any good Capitalist should.

    Of course, assuming they’re good at what they do, the very fact that they’re offering this suggests that they’ve run the figures and decided that the risk of it materialising is a low enough risk for them to insure against. Which does suggest it’s NOT as bad as we thought after all.

    And at least they’re prepared to actually stake their own future on that assessment rather than other people’s futures – unlike those who keep telling us how much worse it’s getting ;)

  20. Truth to an Insurance company is like sex to a virgin. Hyping, fear Mongering and profiting from the gullible is their stock in trade.

    Which is why the Insurance industry loooooooooves the whole Glowball Warming Thingy.

    $$$$$$$$$&&Profit.

  21. A;though the pile on with disdain here is just, in the longer term, with US bankruptcy only years away, the generous disaster bailouts that we’ve become accustomed to – from the government – may well grow scarcer. In this circumstance, weather disaster insurance could be more like real insurance – disaster bailouts getting scarce as we go broke.

  22. Liam McGhee,
    Chairman, President, and CEO,
    The Hartford Company.

    Dear Sir:

    Your ad in the New York Times December 31, 2012, “Extreme Weather is on the Rise” is incorrect, according to various scientific studies, including the AR 5 second order draft of the IPCC, which studies report that extreme weather events have not increased in frequency. The Hartford Company’s appeal is improperly based on the climate alarmism which currently is raging in this country. You may take this posting as your notification of this impropriety.

    Now that you are aware of this, please be advised that any marketing approach that features an appeal based on such climate alarmism is fraudulent. I further advise that you consult your legal staff concerning the potential exposure of The Hartford Company to action brought by those who were inveigled into purchasing a Hartford policy due to marketing based on such fraudulent claims. Your attorneys can also advise on the question of criminal liabilities that may arise against Hartford agents, marketing personnel and executives, including yourself, connected with such fraudulent marketing.

    I urge you to respond at this website to this notification.

    Wishing You a Prosperous and Happy New Year,
    mpainter

  23. @Joe … not quite right. Your characterization of Capitalism is flawed.

    Caveat Emptor is not a justification for bad behaviour, it is simply a warning that there are bad players out there. If someone delivers poor service, sells you shoddy product or misrepresents what you’re being sold (or its need) then each is a form of fraud. Nothing in Capitalist theory justifies that. Before tort lawyers screwed the system, the purpose of torts was to remedy those injustices.

    While you’re generally correct that a demand will find its supply, this is not a legitimate rationale for the supplier to be drumming up demand by misrepresenting need. Fraud is fraud no matter what your political persuasion. (And yes, I’m sure the insurers are filling their brochures and contract forms with enough caveats and qualifiers to cover themselves from actual charges of fraud. Still …. )

  24. The NYT also ran an editorial today, by a Constitutional Law Professor from Georgetown Law. This distinguished professor advocated…eliminating the Constitution. That opinion piece, the subject of this story…you’d almost think the Times was an advocate, not a news reporting organization.

  25. Bryan A says December 31, 2012 at 10:05 am

    Would be funny (in a coincidental fassion) if enough people ordered the extra insurance and there was another Sandy type storm (Cat 1 Hurricane at high tide) that struck the area, then the Hartford had to pay out. …

    Think: “re-insurance”. Hartford only pays fully up to a certain amount, beyond which *their* insurance kicks in and they only pay a percentage …

    HARTFORD’S SANDY LOSSES MAY HIT $350 MILLION – CEO
    Wed 05 Dec 2012 | Natural Disaster / Weather By Erik Holm

    Hartford Financial Services Group Inc.’s (HIG) losses from superstorm Sandy may reach $350 million, the level at which the company’s reinsurance kicks in, Chief Executive Liam McGee said.

    For claims costs in excess of $350 million, Hartford pays just 10% of losses, while its reinsurance program picks up the rest of the costs,

    http://www.lloyds.com/news-and-insight/news-and-features/dow-jones/article/12064/hartford-s-sandy-losses-may-hit-350-million-ceo

  26. Firstly, thanks to Anthony for acknowledging the work of Steve Milloy. It was through Milloy’s “Junkscience” site that I found WUWT, a long time ago.

    He has done sterling work on things like DDT, various chemical scare campaigns and the like over many years. His site has valuable resource archives on these issues. Currently, he is holding the EPA’s feet to the fire about experiments they conducted using humans where they knowingly exposed them to allegedly dangerous levels of particulates.

    Kevin Kilty, if you imagine that Milloy doesn’t understand exactly what a ‘one in 100 year event’ means, you have mistaken your man. Please explain what is wrong with his analysis, instead of throwing grenades and disappearing.

    Louis asked whether the record-breaking temperature statistics are true. In a way, it doesn’t matter. All records are made to be broken, like pie crusts.

    As for the feeble attempt at satire by somebody-or-other about insurance companies just giving customers what they want, calling them to account about the facts is also part of the operation of a free market. Slither away, pal.

  27. Yes, when that Hartford ad said “Unpredictable weather seems to be the new norm”, there is no other logical way to interpret that statement than that they meant that it couldn’t be predicted, say, 100 hours in advance. It would be just completely and utterly bizarre to interpret that statement any other way.

    Is there a “Strawman of the Year” award here at WUWT?

    REPLY: YES, and you’ve won it for the strawman you created in this comment! CONGRATULATIONS! Don Pardo, what do we have for our lucky winner?
    Pardo: Joel will be getting an all expense taxpayer funded trip to the next COP19 conference and a certificate suitable for framing.

  28. R.I.C.O? Course its just another corrupt organization feeding at the trough.
    Insurance we profit from your hazard.
    Off topic what post, was on the change from using 15C as the reference Mean Global Temperature to using 14C ?
    More Hansen adjusting history to suit, but I can’t get the search name right or was it not on WUWT? Too much liquid wisdom.

  29. The insurers *know* what’s been going on, which gives them the courage to offer a low-risk product with new premiums. Pity they have to lie to do it.

  30. NetDr says:
    December 31, 2012 at 10:45 am

    “Thermodynamics says that wind speed is proportional to the difference of temperature not absolute temperature !”

    Wait for the hilarious media interpretation out soon, at news stand near you!

    Rising global temperatures are causing more wind, which have a windchill factor that drives down temperatures and cool the planet. making it appear that temperatures are not actually rising alarmingly /sarc

    Any day now, just you Wait! lol

  31. As a civil engineer who prepares flood insurance studies and other hydrology studies. I would like to clarify what we mean by a “100 year storm”. The term 100 year storm only implies that the odds of a said event occuring are one in 100. It does not mean that said event only occurs once every 100 years. You can have a period where the 100 year event occurs two or three time in a short period of time (say 5-10 years). But it may be preceded or followed with prolonged periods where that event does not occur. It is simply the odds of a given event occuring. And of course the estimation of these events occuring are based upon historical statistical data. And we all know how long and accurate that data is. A high frequency of low probablity type events in more recent times may suggest that these events are not “100 year events”. They may only be 20 year events now that we have better data to analyze. I know that in Arizona we only have 50-100 years worth of data to determine said return events.

    Another way to understand this concept is to visit the roulette wheel at your favorite Casino. Your favorite number 13 does not come up for 100 straight spins. Does that mean that the odds of 13 hitting is less than one in 38? Of course not, it is simply a natural phenomenom called luck. What if that number 25 that hit 3 times in 12 spins? Would you now assume that the odds of number 25 hitting is one in four? Only alarmist AGW mouthpeices would proclaim such.

  32. The definition of “extreme weather” is now so loose and wide that a legal case challenging Hartford’s refusal to pay up in any weather event that creates a bit of localised mayhem, ie “extreme weather” in the new alarmist definition, might just find the insurance companies have been thoroughly hoisted on their own petard of greed and deliberate obfuscation.

  33. mpainter says:
    December 31, 2012 at 5:11 pm
    Liam McGhee,
    Chairman, President, and CEO,
    The Hartford Company.

    Dear Sir:

    Your ad in the New York Times December 31, 2012, “Extreme Weather is on the Rise” is incorrect, ……… I further advise that you consult your legal staff concerning the potential exposure of The Hartford Company to action brought by those who were inveigled into purchasing a Hartford policy due to marketing based on such fraudulent claims. Your attorneys can also advise on the question of criminal liabilities that may arise against Hartford agents, marketing personnel and executives, including yourself, connected with such fraudulent marketing….
    ======================================================================
    Hmmm …. I know there are laws in some states against price gouging in an emergency and/or disaster. Might those laws also apply somehow here? Probably not but maybe they should.

  34. Everyone knows that the weather has become more benign over time. Just look how much more pleasant the climate is for the Eskimos and the Greenlanders. However, given the over sensational reporting of so called natural disasters by the irresponsible media, it is no wonder that people ‘think’ that there are more extreme weather events. This feeds in well with the communists’ modus operandi of wanting to bankrupt the government by agitating that the victims of these rather mild weather events should get government assistance. No wonder the government is going broke. The government should stay out of peoples’ lives and let them get out of the mess themselves. America didn’t become a great nation by looking after the disadvantaged, it got great because of the power of individual initiative and people solving their own problems and getting an advantage over their competitors.

    One must also ask why the so called victims suffered adversely by the weather events. Some people say it is due to their crimes against the Almighty. Athough I don’t believe that theory, it does have some merit an worth considering.

    It doesn’t take much for the insurance companies to get on the bandwagon and use this nonsense about extreme weather events to increase their premiums by 30 to 50% . I know mine has increased by this amount and I didn’t even make a claim last year.

  35. No, you’re just cherry picking! Everybody & 97% of all Climatologists know that you have to look at the last 30 years, so OMG!
    With added NaCl

  36. This is a guaranteed winner. If losses threaten to become too high they will fall back on the “act of God” device, that we-do-not-pay bailout of scoundrels.

  37. Question why do people buy insurance
    Answer , fear becasue the odds of actual needed are so high in most cases they will never claim on it. Indeed this has to be true so that insurance companies can make a profit .

    In other words people have insurance not becasue of what they know will happen but becasue of what they fear may happen , so anything that increases that element is ‘good news ‘ for insurance companies. AGW as a ‘fear factor ‘ is a useful tool.

  38. This is from the Hartford Courant, funny what Google throws up:

    http://articles.courant.com/2012-12-28/news/hc-climate-change-sandy2-20121228_1_major-storms-hurricane-sandy-future-storms

    “NOAA officials noted that Sandy’s arrival happened during the 332nd consecutive month with an above-average temperature. Or as Philip Bump wrote in Grist, “if you were born in or after April 1985, if you are right now 27 years old or younger, you have never lived through a month that was colder than average.”

    Kerry Emanuel, a scientist with NOAA, said that it was only in the last 10 years that meteorologists have developed a set of objective data to definitively identify hybrid storms such as Sandy. While much work has been done on looking at the frequency of conventional hurricanes, little has been done in considering whether hybrid storms are increasing either in frequency or intensity.

    “What Sandy did was to remind my colleagues and I that we haven’t done our homework,” he said. “We don’t really know if they’ve increased. We don’t know. But we should be able to know.”

    “There’s some projects that we’ve been mulling over,” he said. “One is to ask a hypothetical question of what would Sandy have been like hypothetically, had it occurred before this global warming?”

    From a very informative piece in the Charleston Post and Courier, “Storm of Money:Hurricanes, insurance, and the secret black boxes that make our rates so high”, we learn that Dr Emanuel runs a company called WindRisk Tech LLC, http://www.windrisktech.com/, founded in 2005.

    People may remember that Steve Milloy revealed Dr Emanuel’s links with the disaster insurance industry in January last year. It is with the help of modelling from companies such as his WindRiskTech that insurance companies produce the “black boxes” for setting rates, as described in the Charleston piece above.

    http://junkscience.com/2012/01/06/climate-alarmist-emanuel-is-director-of-offshore-insurance-company/

  39. John says:
    December 31, 2012 at 11:17 am

    … In artical at the CBC and listed on the Tom Watsons blog there is a statement that the Kyoto protocol was suppose to reduce co2 by 5% based on 1990 levels and instead we have an increase of 58%.

    … If the co2 level in 1990 was 353 and the current level is 392 how are they getting the percentages stated above?

    The amount of CO2 we are putting into the atmosphere each year is about one percent of the total atmospheric CO2.

    I would not take the carbon budget too seriously. The alarmists give the numbers with a great deal more confidence than is warranted. Most of those numbers are based on calculations rather than direct measurement. The errors on most of them will be closer to ten percent than to one percent. It is entirely possible that the increase in atmospheric CO2 is due as much to natural causes as to anthropogenic.

    We have been warming since the 1800s and the paleo record shows that CO2 in the atmosphere always goes up after the temperature goes up. The alarmists don’t have a good explanation for how that should factor into the budget.

  40. Any business which falls for that deserves to fail. Chances are, if they don’t already have the type of insurance they’re peddling, they don’t need it. They’d be throwing their money down a rat hole.

  41. knr says January 1, 2013 at 3:56 am

    Question why do people buy insurance
    Answer , fear becasue the odds of actual needed are so high in most cases they will never claim on it. Indeed this has to be true so that insurance companies can make a profit .

    In other words people have insurance not becasue of what they know will happen but becasue of what they fear may happen …

    AND, very often it is required (in actuality, often paid-for by the mortgage company directly out of the escrow account) by the mortgage company; if you want the house, you pay for the insurance (the LENDER is thereby protected against financial harm by any damage to the mortgaged property’s value) …

    .

  42. @ Kevin (December 31, 2012 at 5:16 pm):

    True enough, Kevin, but there’s also nothing in Communist theory to do with the massacre of dissidents or handing out dachas to those taking on the glorious burden of administrating the needs of the Brothers. That didn’t stop it happening though. Most political theories are sound in theory but none that I’ve encountered yet can deal (effectively) with the worse parts of human nature and some people’s desire to find an edge ;)

    My main point was that in this case, as long as the company actually will pay up if your 12th floor apartment gets flooded by a tidal surge, then they really are offering a genuine product.to meet a perceived need. And it’s NOT a “need” that they’ve invented themselves. Having identified Society’s desire for such a product, of course they’re going to use anything short of outright lies to market it because that’s what most successful companies do. Personally, I run a small watch and clock repair business and I lose a lot of income (but not customers) by telling people honestly that “you don’t need that done”, while the prosperous National chains will happily sell you what you, as the customer, comes in thinking you need. They’re doing nothing “wrong”, but I choose not to operate like that because it doesn’t sit well with my principles.

    The other point that I keep hoping to get across (probably in vain) is that belief or otherwise in AGW is NOT as divided by political ideology as most people characterise it. I believe that’s something that the sceptical side should be taking a lead in pointing out.

    Not only is it not “Big Oil” driving scepticism, it’s not even capitalism. Any astute capitalist should be jumping up and down with glee at the opportunities created. Everything from alternative energy to extreme weather insurance to improving infrastructure against disasters offer new markets and new opportunities to give your local Ferengi Cooperative wet dreams!

    In fact, I find it slightly ironic (and sad, given my personal beliefs) that the “capitalist deniers” seem to be displaying far more social conscience than the “socialist alarmists” by resisting the creation of all these unnecessary new markets.

  43. This is what happens when Progressive zealots take over an organization. So think of how utterly asinine the hartford’s AGW policies are – well, their HR policies are every bit as bad, if not worse. Basically, the second derivative of its red tape policies follows a decree that it shall never be non-positive. The HR department has a never ending list of yearly certifications it adds to – why should one have to take a re-certification exam regarding ethics every year? There’s got to be half a dozen of these yearly requirements.

    And then people wonder why in 2008 their stock price went from $52 a share down to $4 a share – these guys are basically playing the roulette wheel and the executives are taking home multimillion dollar bonuses every year, while they are cutting back on staff, reducing their bonuses, capping their salaries. FFS, when one of the executive board goes to work for the Obama admin (Wolin)….you know there’s a rat in the house…but if you happen to have a close enough look, you realize that the house is run by the rats, for the rats, at the expense of everyone else.

    An old shareholder said it best at a company meeting in 07 or so…

    “I want to thank you guys for taking a 200 year old company that has been part of the bedrock of the nation’s businesses…and ran it straight into the ground, taking huge bonuses for yourselves every step of the way. Bra-vo, gentleman.”

    or the finance guy that stood up at a company wide meeting and said

    “I know I’m probably going to lose my job for this, but are the executives in any way shape or form responsible for the disastrous results of their actions?”

    Liam McGee went to BoA to disassemble it. What do you think he got brought in to the Hartford to do?

  44. John says:
    December 31, 2012 at 11:17 am

    “In artical at the CBC and listed on the Tom Watsons blog there is a statement that the Kyoto protocol was suppose to reduce co2 by 5% based on 1990 levels and instead we have an increase of 58%. See the excerpt below.

    “The controversial and ineffective Kyoto Protocol’s first stage comes to an end today, leaving the world with 58 per cent more greenhouse gases than in 1990, as opposed to the five per cent reduction its signatories sought.”

    If the co2 level in 1990 was 353 and the current level is 392 how are they getting the percentages stated above?”
    ==========================================================================
    Sometimes it’s hard to see, but there is an outright lie in addition to conflation of CO2 with green house gasses. Even if you take the CO2 percentage as correct at 58%, CO2 is such a small portion of the total green house gasses that there is no way that total green house gasses have risen by anywhere near that number. If I recall my Burt Rutan chart correctly, green house gasses are but 2% of the atmosphere, CO2 is 3.62% of the greenhouse gasses, and human contributed CO2 is 3.4% of CO2.

    And here is the line to the chart, with all thanks to Burt for his handy speakers notes that he made available some time back.

    http://rps3.com/Files/AGW/EngrCritique.AGW-Science.v4.3.pdf

    Facts, as was once so famously said, are stubborn things. Go find them and then beat the miscreants, liars and obsfucators around the head and shoulders with them on a regular basis.

    And a very Happy New Year to all at WUWT, even joel the Troll.

  45. Unfortunately, when things like this start to surface, then you end up with insurance backed by the government…i.e. flood insurance. Soon all insurance will fall under “extreme weather event” and insurance companies won’t pay and we’ll all have to have “extreme weather” insurance backed by the feds.

  46. johanna says:
    December 31, 2012 at 6:37 pm
    …Kevin Kilty, if you imagine that Milloy doesn’t understand exactly what a ‘one in 100 year event’ means, you have mistaken your man. Please explain what is wrong with his analysis, instead of throwing grenades and disappearing….

    I stated this badly and it may have looked like a grenade–it was not. My remark was only meant to clarify that a 100 year event is something that has a low, but possibly constant rate of occurrence (constant if the processes behind the event are stationary) . To believe that a 100 year event somehow inoculates the world against another such event for “a long time” is false. The probability two would occur in subsequent years is the same that they would occur exactly 100 years apart. If climate is a 1/f process then there may be epochs where “100 year events” are more or less common. I’m just interested in some precision here because recurrence rates allow actuaries with some information to go about establishing premiums for such insurance, but not all. They also need premiums large enough to survive a swarm of such events

  47. I just visited Milloy’s site and the comment attributed to Pielke Jr. seems odd. “…Insurance companies make good on losses quickly through premiums…”–well the best counterexample is AIG I suppose, but many companies go broke through inadequate premiums. The insurance companies set hurricane premiums in Florida using a quiet period (in the 1970s, I think) and this, added to politics, is the reason that Florida itself is now the insurer for so many. Even using re-insurance to cover unexpected contingencies does not make the business of setting premiums easy. And as far as excess coverage and premiums being a “rip-off” goes; I have probably paid for the original value of my house through insurance and have never made other than one claim for hail. This does not make it a rip-off, though.

  48. mpainter says:
    December 31, 2012 at 5:11 pm
    Re:Liam McGhee

    Great advisory. I’ve often wondered if truth in advertising laws couldn’t be used to whack any organization using fudged statistics, scare mongering, and other tactics to sell memberships and solicit donations and grants the way these laws are used in regard to commercial sales. Any examples?

    Please report back if Messr. McGhee answers.

  49. McComberBoy says:

    Even if you take the CO2 percentage as correct at 58%, CO2 is such a small portion of the total green house gasses that there is no way that total green house gasses have risen by anywhere near that number.

    As the moderator pointed out in response to John’s comment, the statement about a 58% increase in that CBC piece was a (not very well-worded) statement about the increase in emissions, not an increase in the concentration of greenhouse gases in the atmosphere. An increase in emissions of CO2 should equate to an increase in the rate of rise in greenhouse gas concentrations…In other words, it is more closely related to the derivative of the concentration with respect to time than to the concentration itself.

    If I recall my Burt Rutan chart correctly, green house gasses are but 2% of the atmosphere, CO2 is 3.62% of the greenhouse gasses, and human contributed CO2 is 3.4% of CO2.

    Well, you may be remembering his chart correctly, but Rutan is not a climate scientist and this statement displays multiple fallacies:

    (1) While it is true that greenhouse gases are only about 2% of the atmospheric concentration by volume, they are the only ones that are capable of absorbing infrared radiation emitted by the Earth and hence they play a disproportionately-large role in determining the radiative balance and temperature of the Earth. (The non-greenhouse gases do come into play in that they cause some important pressure broadening of the greenhouse gas absorption lines.)

    (2) It is rather irrelevant what percentage CO2 is by volume of greenhouse gases in the atmosphere since all greenhouse gases are not created equal…and the radiative effect of a greenhouse gas is not simply linearly proportional to its concentration. For these reasons also, CO2′s direct radiative effect is disproportionately large compared to its proportion of total greenhouse gas concentrations.

    (3) A further fact is that the largest greenhouse gas by volume, water vapor, is condensable and because of this its concentration turns out to be controlled to a large degree by the temperature, which in turn, is controlled to a large degree by the non-condensable greenhouse gases of which CO2 is the major component both in terms of concentration and overall radiative effect.

    (4) The claim that “human contributed CO2 is 3.4% of CO2″ is a falsehood. Humans may be emitting only about 3.4% of the gross amount of CO2 emitted into the atmosphere but the natural emissions are balanced by equally large absorptions from the atmosphere. So, humans are responsible for all of the net increase in CO2 concentration in the atmosphere. In fact, the oceans and land biosphere are sequestering about half of our emissions, so atmospheric concentrations of CO2 would have increased by about twice the amount that they have if not for the fact that this sequestration occurs. Hence, we are responsible for all of the ~40% increase in CO2 concentrations since the beginning of the industrial revolution…and, it is only through the good fortune of the ability of the biosphere and oceans to take up CO2 that this increase has not been more like 80%.

    And a very Happy New Year to all at WUWT, even joel the Troll.

    Happy New Years to you too. However, it is one of the ironies of WUWT that those like myself who are called “trolls” are actually injecting basic scientific facts into the discussions and those who make accusations of trolling are often spreading “facts” that is completely discredited in the scientific community.

    REPLY: “…but Rutan is not a climate scientist”. And I’ll remind the readers that neither is Joel D. Shore. Though he fancies himself as one. – Anthony

  50. joelshore says:

    “Well, you may be remembering his chart correctly, but Rutan is not a climate scientist…”

    Neither is joelshore.

    And joelshore should notify his pals at the thinly-trafficked alarmist blogs that even unscientific ‘troll’ comments are posted here. Readers can then decide what is truth, and what is nonsense. Most readers agree that catastrophic AGW is complete nonsense.

    Alarmist blogs censor uncomfortable comments by scientific skeptics, because skeptics demolish the alarmist narrative. If they published all comments like WUWT does, they would get lots more traffic. But they would also have their alarmist nonsense demolished. So they censor.

  51. [SNIP - Joel, I'm not interested in turning your petty arguments into a flame war. I've been quite tolerant of your occasional lapses, and you've had 3470 comments here on WUWT, but it ends here if you want to complain that you are somehow being treated unfairly. Move on to another topic, if you don't like the moderation here, take a hike. In fact, take a few days off to think about how terrible it is that you have 3470 published comments here. See you next week] – Anthony

  52. Kevin Kilty says: January 1, 2013 at 5:03 pm
    mpainter says:
    December 31, 2012 at 5:11 pm
    Re:Liam McGhee

    Great advisory. I’ve often wondered if truth in advertising laws couldn’t be used to whack any organization using fudged statistics, scare mongering, and other tactics to sell memberships and solicit donations and grants the way these laws are used in regard to commercial sales. Any examples?

    Please report back if Messr. McGhee answers.
    ===============================================
    The NY Times has wide national distribution, perhaps 50 states, so 50 jurisdictions.
    Does the ad qualify as deceptive, untrue, or misleading? Somewhere there is an AG who does not like global warmers. Can you imagine James Hansen called to testify? Or any of these global warmers whose science falls apart at a poke?
    Hartford has over 20,000 employees. Liam McGhee will hear about my notification when he returns to work, if he has not already. It will get his attention, you can bet. We’ll see if he responds
    mpainter.

  53. I disagree with the assessment that it is unlikely in the future. Poisson statistics say otherwise meaning that an event in the future is maximum near a current event. Sandy may be caused by cooling or warming but a repeat is maximum right now.

  54. joeldshore says: January 1, 2013 at 6:19 pm

    (1) While it is true that greenhouse gases are only about 2% of the atmospheric concentration by volume, they are the only ones that are capable of absorbing infrared radiation emitted by the Earth and hence they play a disproportionately-large role in determining the radiative balance and temperature of the Earth. (The non-greenhouse gases do come into play in that they cause some important pressure broadening of the greenhouse gas absorption lines.)

    Refutation: Volumetrically, water vapor is the only significant greenhouse gas. CO2, at 390 ppm, is not of significant volume. It is true that water vapor comprises about 2% by volume of the atmosphere on average, but actual concentrations vary greatly from less than 1% in very dry climates to nearly 4% in the tropics. The greenhouse effect varies according to the climate. The much diminished GHE of such dry climates as the Sahara is confirmed by its diurnal temperature range of 85-90 degrees F. Compare with the diurnal range of the tropics of 20-23 degrees F. CO2 concentration is the same for the tropics and the desert, so the great difference of diurnal temperature range is due strictly to the different humidities. But even at very slight concentrations of water vapor, say .5% by volume, CO2 is still an inconsiderable portion of total greenhouse gas, compare 5,000 ppm to 390 ppm (.07), and so we see that even the very slight GHE of very dry climates is due to water vapor, with only an inconsiderable contribution from CO2.

    (2) It is rather irrelevant what percentage CO2 is by volume of greenhouse gases in the atmosphere since all greenhouse gases are not created equal…and the radiative effect of a greenhouse gas is not simply linearly proportional to its concentration. For these reasons also, CO2′s direct radiative effect is disproportionately large compared to its proportion of total greenhouse gas concentrations.

    Refutation: The above example shows how very rapidly the earth’s surface radiates heat at nightfall in such dry climates as the Sahara. This is due to very low atmospheric humidity. CO2 is of little consequence in retaining heat in the atmosphere, and any retardation of heat in dry atmosphere is strictly due to the water vapor, slight though it is. Consequently, it can only be concluded that CO2 has no effect in determining climate. AGW theory simply invents a role for CO2 in climate matters, as the temperature record of the last sixteen years shows.

    (3) A further fact is that the largest greenhouse gas by volume, water vapor, is condensable and because of this its concentration turns out to be controlled to a large degree by the temperature, which in turn, is controlled to a large degree by the non-condensable greenhouse gases of which CO2 is the major component both in terms of concentration and overall radiative effect.

    Refutation: Water in all of its phases acts as a coolant. In the atmosphere, water acts as a primary means of transporting heat out of the atmosphere through the process of convection, which itself is actuated by the adiabatic lapse rate of water vapor and latent heat considerations. By such means heat is transported aloft to radiate into space through a thinner, dryer atmosphere. CO2, to the extent that it absorbs and holds IR, contributes to this convective cooling. Air temperature is determined by insolation and humidity, as exemplified by the comparison between the tropics and deserts, and not by CO2.

    (4) The claim that “human contributed CO2 is 3.4% of CO2″ is a falsehood. Humans may be emitting only about 3.4% of the gross amount of CO2 emitted into the atmosphere but the natural emissions are balanced by equally large absorptions from the atmosphere. So, humans are responsible for all of the net increase in CO2…etc.,etc.,

    Rebuttal: Atmospheric CO2 is entirely beneficial. It is the foundation of life in all of its forms and is the ultimate source of all food. Anthropogenic CO2 acts as a plant fertilizer and enhances agricultural yield, as proven by various studies.

    joeldshore, see what happens to a house of cards when you poke it. Remember the story of the three little pigs? Same idea.

  55. mpainter says:
    January 1, 2013 at 9:00 pm

    I like the idea of using the courts, or threatening use of the courts, to effect some justice on scams. I myself avoid it, though, because despite its power, the legal system is slow, and unwieldy. It’s like an M79, which if used improperly can lead to a bad scratch on one’s arm, or worse, a purple heart.

  56. Insurance is a particular business, with fools in it.

    One Canadian residential insurer decided to offer an optional extra medical option for travel to the US. At the price, without any restriction on time in the US, it was a very good deal. No surprise the price went way up in subsequent years, and restrictions on duration were added.

    OTOH, years ago I was in a strata title residential development (often called condos). One year the property management company advised they’d found building insurance at far lower cost. “Sounds too good to be true.” we said. They explained that the insurance company had actually looked at the development and saw that the 200 units were in a couple of dozen or so separate buildings, not in a big connected block as some in that city were. So the fire risk was substantially less because the likelihood that all units would burn was much lower.

  57. It’s not only the insurance lobby’s statements about attribution that are screwed up. Even the incidence of the events themselves is misrepresented: warming has been driving them down, for a long time. That may be about to reverse, of course. So their fear-mongering may turn out to be justified, but for the opposite of the reasons they cite.

    The irony and stupidity both burn.

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