Munich Re insurance company: El Niño And Global Warming Make Natural Disasters Less Expensive

Due to El Niño and global warming, 2015 natural disasters are much less costly than expected, according to a study by an insurance industry group.
US Nat Cat Loss Events 2015 (Graphic: Business Wire)
The insurance industry’s largest losses in recent years are due to severe winter weather. Global warming and El Niño — a weather event that warms up ocean temperatures in South America, causing the United states to get unusually warm for a year — abated these insurance costs, according to Munich Reinsurance America, Inc.
The particularly harsh winter of 2014-2015 caused direct losses of $4.6 billion dollars, 73 percent of which was insured. Losses due to winter weather were also bad during the 2013-2014 winter, the study reported.

Additional insurance industry expenses accrued due to tornadoes, but fewer than 1,200 tornadoes were recorded in the U.S. in 2015 — below the annual average of 1,360. The warming trend also “impacted conditions that led to a quieter overall thunderstorm season,” further reducing losses.

Historically, hurricanes are the insurance industry’s biggest weather related expense, but no hurricane made landfall in the United States during 2015. In fact, no major hurricane has made landfall in the U.S. in the last 10 years, setting a new record. Scientists, however, expect global warming will lead to fewer, but slightly stronger, hurricanes.
Deaths from natural disasters and weather also dropped significantly, according to the study and other sources. Natural disasters claimed 280 lives in the U.S. in 2015 and 270 lives in 2014. Those numbers are dramatically below the 30-year annual average of 580 natural disaster and weather-related deaths.

Extreme weather events like tornadoes and floods have been remarkably less deadly as well in recent years. Thousands of American lives have been saved from tornado and flood deaths due to the weather patterns, according to the charts below.
Full post

On Twitter. Dr. Roger Pielke Jr. agrees:

41 thoughts on “Munich Re insurance company: El Niño And Global Warming Make Natural Disasters Less Expensive

  1. 2015 natural disasters are much less costly than expected,

    A real question: What led them to expect them to be more costly? CAGW hype? Climate models? Does the insurance base what is expected on a running average (say, 10 or 20 years)?

    • Maybe it’s more about the real estate involved and less about the actual weather occurrence which drives the cost factor of natural disasters.

  2. Andrew Follett’s article reads: “…El Niño — a weather event that warms up ocean temperatures in South America…”

    Mr. Follett needs a geography lesson. After he learns there is no ocean IN South America, we can discuss something called the Pacific Ocean.

  3. I am sure they will be more than to lower our premiums because of this.

    Oh, that is right. Insurance companies are in the business of taking money not protecting us against loss.

  4. What appears to me in the data figure is that about every 6 yrs (+/-1 yr) there is a loss spike year. That would suggest 2016 will be a higher wx-related losses year than 2015, and an even bigger spike in ’17 or ’18.

    • I am refering to R Pielke’s plot normalized to global GDP, not the other which doesn’t normalize.

      • As for the linear trend in Pielke’s plot, keep in mind it’s a ratio. The downward linear trend thus merely reflects GDP is growing faster than disaster losses, even if absolute disaster losses (in Blns USD) shows no trend.

      • As for the linear trend in Pielke’s plot, keep in mind it’s a ratio. The downward linear trend thus merely reflects GDP is growing faster than disaster losses, even if absolute disaster losses (in Blns USD) shows no trend.

        But what isn’t captured is the amount of wealth placed at risk which is also growing at least as fast as GDP or faster in the case of coastal property, so the fact that the line still slopes negative is meaningful.

  5. I’ve bad news for the ‘end is nigh’ global warming (by fossil fuels) crusaders. Things are getting better because of the climate in the late 20th century and early 21st century.

    The ‘end is nigh’ global warming (by fossil fuels) crusaders just need to jump to actual reality; it is easy to do and the skeptics will hold your hand as you jump to actual reality.


  6. So they talked up the scare stories and hauled in loads of premiums as a result and now they have not had to pay out all that much because the reality was nowhere near what the doom mongers predicted.
    By an amazing coincidence they turn a profit from it all.
    Piece of luck, eh!

  7. Carbon dioxide radiation cannot raise the maximum temperature for the day. Warming is assumed to be caused by radiation from carbon dioxide supposedly slowing surface cooling and then, because of that supposed slowing, the minimum temperature for the day is supposedly warmer. But it’s not: it may take a few minutes (or just a few seconds) longer in the night to get down to the minimum temperature, but that’s all. The minimum temperature is determined by all the thermal energy stored in the troposphere, and over 98% of that is in nitrogen, oxygen and argon molecules.

    Radiation can only slow that component of cooling which is itself by radiation, and that is only about a third of all surface cooling. Other cooling processes may well accelerate to compensate. Furthermore, the minimum temperature for the night is determined primarily by the supporting temperature in all the air molecules colliding with surface molecules, and carbon dioxide only comprises 0.04% of those. IR-active molecules lower the temperature gradient, so that the thermal plot rotates downwards at the surface end. That is why more moist regions in my study had lower mean daily minimum and maximum temperatures than drier regions at similar latitude and altitude. So-called greenhouse gases lower the mean surface temperature, and the reasons (based on the Second Law of Thermodynamics) are here.

  8. “Scientists, however, expect global warming will lead to fewer, but slightly stronger, hurricanes.”

    “Scientists” are of course, wrong again. And wasn’t the cry not long ago that there would be more hurricanes because the oceans were going to be warmer and hurricanes only start over water when it is warmer? And wasn’t that supposed to be over a longer portion of the year when the higher sea temperatures were going to spawn storms more easily for a longer stretch of months? Where did the ‘fewer’ come from?

    Obviously the ‘message’ has been tuned to include the fact that there have been a lot fewer land-falling hurricanes, with the hope attached that they would be ‘stronger’. Because, I mean, it isn’t much of a ‘cry wolf’ moment if the storms are fewer and weaker the higher the temperature rises (something supported by facts, not conjecture).

    Gloomy hurricane predictions are becoming a tough sell in the 21st century. So, when do the lower premiums kick in?

    • And wasn’t the cry not long ago that there would be more hurricanes

      It sure was. It also wasn’t that long ago that they insisted warming would be evidenced in the land temps first and SST’s would lag. Now they are using elevated SST’s to prove the warming.

      It also wasn’t that long ago that they were arguing that the warming (at the time) could not possibly be natural variation as the signal was much larger than natural variation could possible be. Now they are crying that natural variation is in fact larger than the signal.

      Climate Science you see, is cyclical ;-)

  9. Well, there are disasters, and then there are insured disasters.

    If Munich Re can get customers to insure for hot-Karl disasters that don’t happen, then they’re golden. Right?

      • Next time you see a liberal on the street holding their silly signs about the dreaded CO2 caused Glo.Bull Warming, ask them what percentage of the atmosphere is made up of CO2.. I have asked approximately 160 liberals and 97% think the answer is 40% ! Nuff said…

  10. We were told that because of El Nino warming the Pacific Ocean that we would have a mild winter here on Vancouver Island. Our winters are much like back home, UK, in that they are wet and fairly mild. So far we have had the expected storms, gales and rain during October and November, but since the middle of December lower than usual temps at night, -8 to -10 and two lots of snow since Dec 23rd and we rarely get snow here, and it is actually colder and remains cold all day and is not forecast to change any time soon.

  11. A good, succinct riposte to any attention seeker demanding money to save the planet from global warming…..

  12. From the report: “We must continue to focus on creating resiliency and saving lives through stronger building codes, better land use and protective infrastructure.”

    If we accept this normalisation it does not give us the actual cost of global warming. As the above tells us, the losses are lower because we are building in resiliency. This is a costly affair, as anyone having to comply with strict building codes will tell you. The protective infrastructure in New Orleans cost $15billion – for just one city. These costs do not show up in insured losses.

  13. Also from the reprt “On the other hand, El Niño promoted the development of intense tropical cyclones in the northeast Pacific, partly due to the higher water temperatures it brings. A total of 26 cyclones (long-term average 15.6) developed there, 16 of which reached hurricane strength. Eleven (long-term average 4.1) grew to major hurricanes.

    Although most storms in the northeast Pacific do not make landfall, one storm in 2015 did, and was particularly noteworthy: Hurricane Patricia became one of the strongest tropical cyclones on record globally and the most powerful in the northeast Pacific to make landfall.”

    So El Nino gives with one hand and takes away with the other. Fortunately, Patricia hit a sparsely populated area, so damage was relaively slight.

      • Your exactly right Russell, they all seemed to be hoping and praying for EXTREME death and destruction !! Liberals are very sick people…IMHO..

  14. IIRC, the 1998 El Nino saved the US billions of dollars in lower energy bills, lower livestock losses and feed-savings, crop losses, etc, despite the news coverage plastered w/nothing but CA woes. I know my heating costs were much lower in mild Dec.

  15. As I recall Munich Re has been hyping climate change for many years. Now they find it lucrative? Wonder why.

    “Evans and other experts credit climate change, or more precisely all the publicity climate change gets, with helping to make people more aware of the weather, and helping drive interest in weather derivatives and weather-related financial products.

    In addition to greater awareness, the tools to forecast weather and its potential impact are becoming more sophisticated, so the need to hedge those losses becomes more apparent, Evans said.

    Munich Re paved its way as a leader in weather derivatives with its acquisition of RenaissanceRe Holdings Ltd.’s unit, RenRe Energy Advisors Ltd., in 2013. Munich Re Trading’s primary line of business is to provide weather risk management products to corporate customers on a global basis.”

  16. 1998 was a hot year, and 2004-2005 was when smoothed HadCRUT peaked. However, much of 2005’s losses seem to be from just one of the hurricanes of that multiple record hurricane season hitting a very vulnerable major city.

  17. What I miss in the discussion:

    the graphic ‘US tornado deaths per million people’ shows tremendous progress towards personal security.

    The prediction of tornadoes has been improved exponentially over the last 100 years: faster warning, evacuation, quicker response are available.

    – Insurance companies insure
    buildings only if the minimum standards of protection against potential damage cases, incident occurrences of damage are observed. And thus enforce preventive mesurments against natural factors: snow load, flooding events, tornadoes, earthquakes require the developmant of safer buildings.

    And that again shows the obvious nonsense of the green agenda:

    we need more sophisticated technology, not less.

    Our need of reliable energy supply will get increased instead of reduced.

    Regards – Hans

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