Green Fury at Warren Buffett’s Climate Heresy

By Mark Hirschey - Work of Mark Hirschey, CC BY-SA 2.0,

By Mark Hirschey – Work of Mark Hirschey, CC BY-SA 2.0,

Guest essay by Eric Worrall

A week after Warren Buffett broke the green taboo, by suggesting climate change will not be universally disastrous for his business, the overheated activist outrage is still boiling.

The Guardian suggests Buffett won’t be able to cope with what they predict will be an exponential increase in climate damage. Apparently one of the foremost global experts in pricing insurance risk cannot handle non-linear math.

… Of course, Buffett argues that insurance prices can be adjusted upwards each year to take account of new climate information that emerges. But if climate change is accelerating, even a yearly “true-up” in insurance rates will not be enough to protect insurance company profit margins. Current rates will always lag behind accelerating growth in damages and claims. The annual adjustment will merely slow down the widening gap between them. Airlines illustrate just how hard it can be to keep rates rising in step with fluctuations in jet fuel prices. …

Read more:

Insurance Business America is even more direct in its criticism;

Warren Buffett slammed for dismissing climate change as potential worry for insurers

Environmental activists are not buying Buffet’s arguments, however.

Naomi Ages, climate liability campaigner at Greenpeace, told The Guardian that climate risks are unpredictable and that other insurers are taking the threat more seriously.

“Warren Buffett appears to assume that climate change is a manageable risk for insurers, but the damage caused by the increasing frequency and force of extreme weather events associated with a warming planet is set to become unmanageable,” Ages said.

“And unmanageable risks bankrupt insurers.”

Read more:

Here I was, thinking the science was settled, yet Greenpeace are telling us we can’t predict anything.

Perhaps the most telling evidence of Buffett’s ability to cope with climate risk, and other insurance risk, is the following;

Berkshire Hathaway 4th-quarter profit up 32 per cent

“I think these results are pretty good”, Edward Jones analyst Jim Shanahan said. Volumes may fall this year as low fuel prices limit shipments of petroleum products and material used for extracting oil, Berkshire said. Buffett has warned that it will be increasingly hard for Berkshire to continue beating the market because the company is so large.

Read more:

Perhaps it is possible, that Warren Buffett knows how to manage an insurance business.

121 thoughts on “Green Fury at Warren Buffett’s Climate Heresy

  1. If the risk is unmanageable insurers don’t insure it. Most household policies specifically exclude loss or damage from war or Acts of God such as meteorite strikes for instance. While Thermageddon may be sudden in geological terms, ephemeral humans will have time to adjust and Mr Buffet and his successors still turn a profit. This storm in a teacup merely underlines just how detached are the catastrophists from reality.

      • You mean the von Mises that was subsidized by Rockefeller for many years before his university stint? Unsurprising given von Mises view that inequality was just fine, thank you.

      • ticketstopper,

        We CAN make everybody equal. But it will require the best efforts of TOP MEN. Who will of course not be equal.

      • Why is it wrong for people to benefit from their labors and abilities?
        What exactly is right about forcing one set of people to subsidize another set?

      • @M Simon

        Even if we ignore the neccesity of tyrrany for wealth redistribution, what is the result of that action? The most likely or easiest to achieve result is to bring everyone to the lowest common denomenator, or a state of poverty.

      • If you take tax away the fruits of one man’s labor in order to give it to someone else you teach these two people two very opposite lessons.
        The man being taxed learns that he won’t benefit from his labors, so he stops working.
        The man being subsidized learns that he doesn’t have to work in order to have his needs fulfilled, so he stops working.

    • “Most household policies specifically exclude loss or damage from war or Acts of God such as meteorite strikes for instance.”

      WAY of topic, there is a great Australian movie out there, “The Man Who Sued God”. Covers just about all this ! His boat got struck by Lightning !! (comedy)

    • I’ve been saying for years, the Smart Money knows what’s really going on. All the rest is bread and circuses.

    • If you are an insurer who believes Human induced Global Warming is tripe then there is money to be made for sure.

      Because a savvy insurer can take advantage of the man in the street who believes the doom and hot propaganda by charging him increased premiums of which the general public are effctively being groomed so they will may well be happy to pay.

      Therefore premiums up and payouts steady = profits are up in a big way!

      Does Al Gore have any investment in insurance?



      • Why do you think some insurance companies (e.g., Swiss Re and Munich Re) support publications that hype climate risks, even while they report higher profits from the lack of catastrophic climate events.

      • Hmmmm, interesting….maybe offer climate change insurance rider. Something like “if 80 years from now, due to increasing mean sea-level (not storms) (not eroding /changing coastline) your beachfront house is not usable. We pay”. Meantime collect additional premium for decades.

  2. Insurance companies are no mugs. Don’t worry about them. After a big payout year premiums can easily be doubled and coverage in higher risk areas is simply declined.

    • The insurance market thrives on risk. A new “danger” helps them increase premiums. What Buffett is saying is common sense. Sadly any sense whatsoever is sadly lacking with those on the Alarmist side. Any mention whatsoever about their “bogeyman” AGW being somehow manageable will get them all apoplectic and unnecessary.

      Conformity is not morality.
      Consensus is not truth.

      They need to realise the reality of the two points above. Some, myself included, have done this. Some will be incapable of so doing.

      Buffett is a pragmatic realist. Nuff said……………

  3. ….yeah right Insurance companies will undercharge for their coverage. That will be an absolute first.
    Open up a Green and you will find unconnected mush filling the space between their ears.

    • That will be an absolute first.

      Sometimes going into new things they do undercharge, but not for long.
      Long Term Care is an example of what they actually do.
      Many companies got into this and miscalculated the risk.
      They began to lose money.
      Some raised rates – a lot. Others got out.
      Some older folks I know have fantastic ‘legacy’ policies, being subsidized by other parts of the insurer’s business. Such deals are no longer being sold.

      Warren is a friend of Bill (Gates, that is.) Notice that Bill is getting smarter about climate than he was 15 years ago.

      • Yes, when Long Term Care covereage started there was virtually no past data to guide insurers so they had to make guesses which turned out to be overly optimistic leading to big losses. For example some insurers priced for a 5% lapse rate and thought that was conservative but some blocks have experienced near zero lapse rates.

    • “Open up a Green and you will find unconnected mush filling the space between their ears.”

      I’d be surprised if you found anything.

  4. Well here’s where Greenpeace and the Guardian can make a stack of money.
    Go to the stock market and short all of Warren Buffett’s insurance companies.

    ……..on the other hand if Warrens right…….

    • I personally think Warren Buffet is a jerk, but that doesn’t keep me from holding a number of B Shares of Berkshire Hathaway … i.e., don’t bet against Mr. Buffet where a profit is concerned.

      • Mark

        You’re a little harsh, but not incorrect.

        I also have (and profit from) BRK/A and am appalled at Buffet’s comments regarding his tax bracket vs his administrative assistant’s: she pays income tax; Buffet pays capital gains tax. He knows this and is willfully misleading the (as always poorly educated) general public.

        Also has donated the vast majority of his wealth to charity upon his death, once again, avoiding taxation.

  5. There was plenty of rebuttal to the Guardian article in the comments section. This was one:

    I saw someone make a comment on one of the Guardians Climate stories yesterday and they mentioned the song Imagine.
    I wonder what it would be like if we we didn’t have to listen to the constant doom and gloom from so called climate scientists. Would we notice anything different about the climate.

    Imagine there’s no climate science
    It’s easy if you try
    No heat hiding in the oceans
    Above us lonely CO2
    Imagine all the people living for today
    Imagine there’s no IPCC
    it isn’t hard to do
    Nothing to falsify or lie for
    And no hockey sticks too
    Imagine all the people living life in peace, yooou
    You may say I’m a sceptic
    But I’m not the only one
    I hope some day you’ll join us
    And the world will be as one
    Imagine no climate funding
    I wonder if you can
    No need for grants or adjustments
    No brotherhood of Mann
    Imagine all the people not scared of the climate, yooou
    You may say I’m a doubter
    But I’m not the only one
    I hope some day you’ll join us
    And the world will be as warm

  6. The Guardian suggests Buffett won’t be able to cope with what they predict will be an exponential increase in climate damage. Apparently one of the foremost global experts in pricing insurance risk cannot handle non-linear math.

    If we accept, for sake of argument, that we are on an exponential curve it matters where we are on the curve. Currently, we are on the portion of the curve where the rate of increase is so small that it is swamped by noise. In other words, we can’t tell that we are on an exponential curve.

    When the signal is finally strong enough to distinguish from the noise I guarantee that the cacophony from the alarmists will be so loud that the insurers won’t be able to miss it. In other words, the insurers have an early warning system, the alarmists. The insurers will have an excuse to dramatically increase premiums, in excess of what is actually warranted, and the panicked public will accept that.

    God bless the alarmists, the saviours of the insurance industry.

    • Anyway, most (all?) non-linear systems have large areas were they behave linearly.

      You can safely huge these systems as long as you don’t push them in dangerous areas.

      • simple-touriste says:
        March 8, 2016 at 4:01 pm

        Anyway, most (all?) non-linear systems have large areas were they behave linearly.

        When I was a pup we had to worry about things like that. These days we just throw a computer at the problem and force linearity … except occasionally it doesn’t work. :-(

        I once visited a rolling mill with giant motors dating back to the 1920s. The old, simple (but not easy to understand), analog system worked. The new computerized system produced the occasional awful pile of crumpled steel. The engineers who designed the original system were long dead. As far as I can tell, the new engineers never got the system sorted out.

  7. Greenpeace are to environment as FIFA are to football.

    Guardian Media Group never minded fossil fuel investment until someone pointed it out to the Guardian crackpots. Then all of a sudden they were “divesting”.

    The Guardian doesn’t like off shore money dealings, but the Guardian media group do.

    • I wonder how many bike pedaling acolytes it would take to run the presses, let alone deliver the papers that are made magically out of bark to “spread the word”, I guess they use helium balloons to go world wide? ( made out of latex the process using ??… oh forget it, their crapola is astounding.

      • Helium is recovered from natural gas wells. including the fracked kind.

        Besides, it takes real hard physical work to make bark into paper and convert latex sap into natural rubber.

  8. The major DAGW scaremonger in insurance circles has long been Munich Re, which takes the view that weather worries are a great lubricant for premium increases.

    And that’s awkward because Berkshire Hathaway, its largest shareholder, believes transparency is a better way to earn its clients’ trust.

  9. Buffett certainly isn’t saying that there’s no need to worry about climate change. His letter is here. Here is the relevant part:

    I am writing this section because we have a proxy proposal regarding climate change to consider at this year’s annual meeting. The sponsor would like us to provide a report on the dangers that this change might present to our insurance operation and explain how we are responding to these threats. It seems highly likely to me that climate change poses a major problem for the planet. I say “highly likely” rather than “certain” because I have no scientific aptitude and remember well the dire predictions of most “experts” about Y2K. It would be foolish, however, for me or anyone to demand 100% proof of huge forthcoming damage to the world if that outcome seemed at all possible and if prompt action had even a small chance of thwarting the danger.

    This issue bears a similarity to Pascal’s Wager on the Existence of God. Pascal, it may be recalled, argued that if there were only a tiny probability that God truly existed, it made sense to behave as if He did because the rewards could be infinite whereas the lack of belief risked eternal misery. Likewise, if there is only a 1% chance the planet is heading toward a truly major disaster and delay means passing a point of no return, inaction now is foolhardy. Call this Noah’s Law: If an ark may be essential for survival, begin building it today, no matter how cloudless the skies appear.

    It’s understandable that the sponsor of the proxy proposal believes Berkshire is especially threatened by climate change because we are a huge insurer, covering all sorts of risks. The sponsor may worry that property losses will skyrocket because of weather changes. And such worries might, in fact, be warranted if we wrote ten- or twenty-year policies at fixed prices. But insurance policies are customarily written for one year and repriced annually to reflect changing exposures. Increased possibilities of loss translate promptly into increased premiums.

    Think back to 1951 when I first became enthused about GEICO. The company’s average loss-per-policy was then about $30 annually. Imagine your reaction if I had predicted then that in 2015 the loss costs would increase to about $1,000 per policy. Wouldn’t such skyrocketing losses prove disastrous, you might ask? Well, no.

    Over the years, inflation has caused a huge increase in the cost of repairing both the cars and the humans involved in accidents. But these increased costs have been promptly matched by increased premiums. So, paradoxically, the upward march in loss costs has made insurance companies far more valuable. If costs had remained unchanged, Berkshire would now own an auto insurer doing $600 million of business annually rather than one doing $23 billion.

    Up to now, climate change has not produced more frequent nor more costly hurricanes nor other weather- related events covered by insurance. As a consequence, U.S. super-cat rates have fallen steadily in recent years, which is why we have backed away from that business. If super-cats become costlier and more frequent, the likely – though far from certain – effect on Berkshire’s insurance business would be to make it larger and more profitable.

    As a citizen, you may understandably find climate change keeping you up nights. As a homeowner in a low-lying area, you may wish to consider moving. But when you are thinking only as a shareholder of a major insurer, climate change should not be on your list of worries.

    “If super-cats become costlier and more frequent, the likely – though far from certain – effect on Berkshire’s insurance business would be to make it larger and more profitable.”
    I see what he means.

    • Nick, here is the factual part of the relevant quotes you selected..

      “Up to now, climate change has not produced more frequent nor more costly hurricanes nor other weather- related events covered by insurance.”

      All the hoopla, all the scare tactics, all the blaming of your SUV on this years drought and flood, last years sea ice increase, this years sea ice decline, this tornado, that hurricane, etc…, is unmitigated B.S.

    • Nick: There is also the “too big to fail aspect”. AIG was essentially bankrupted by the mortgage meltdown. Their demise would have caused severe losses at other companies, notably Goldman Sachs. So the Federal Government decided that they were “too big to fail” and bailed them out. This also bailed out Goldman Sachs (Buffett had bought a substantial amount of preferred stock in GS).
      In economics, this is termed a moral hazard – people tend to act rashly when they are absolved from the adverse consequences of their actions.
      It may be rash to ignore the consequences of climate change, but it is moot if the government are going to bail you out if you are wrong and suffer what would be catastrophic losses.

      • Nick –

        Instead of the government bailing people out, consider the other side of the coin. What if — and this is a big if — GS, Chase, the Fed, Wall Street, and the CFR are the government? And nothing really happens unless they sign off and set it in motion? That all else is bread and circus?

    • Thanks for digging up the quote, Nick. It is clear that Buffet accepts future climate change and at least some damaging consequences as likely, and thus he doesn’t really challenge any dogma. But, he does point out that so far no such damage has manifested itself on his balance sheets.

      That he gets berated for this simple factual statement makes the whole brouhaha even more ridiculous and revealing, of course. Obviously, even mentioning facts that might suggest the possibility of climate change being merely damaging rather than apocalyptic, now qualifies as a thought crime. Comrades Stalin and Mao would be proud of their little Green disciples.

      • Buffet is talking out of both sides of his mouth, with one goal: keep my insurance business profitable.

        Side 1: The precautionary fallacy (calling it “Pascal’s Wager” didn’t change what he actually said) says that even if there is a teeny tiny little chance of disaster: BUY MY INSURANCE, just in case, for there is definitely AGW going on (“Hyuck, hyuck, I’m no scientist… but, I KNOW” — barf).

        2. AGW is happening, but we can manage it: BUY STOCK IN MY INSURANCE COMPANY.

        The End.

        The Green screamers either don’t get what he meant (he PROMOTED the fantasy of AGW) or are actually sock puppets for ins. market competitors/potential competitors trying to expand the disaster ins. market/get their own insurance products marketed by saying Buffet’s policies are not adequate.

      • Insurance companies are a source of large pools of money for renewable energy projects such as wind and solar.

        UNEPFI/UNEP Finance Initiative has a list of insurance companies that have pledged to fund renewable energy projects and some already have funded projects for several years.

        Scare the public and get insurance rates up as an increased source of funds.

    • Nick

      Buffet doesn’t really say very much about climate change one way or the other. What he is focused on is Berkshire profitability

      • Chip,
        “Buffet doesn’t really say very much about climate change one way or the other.”
        Well, he says:
        “It seems highly likely to me that climate change poses a major problem for the planet. I say “highly likely” rather than “certain” because I have no scientific aptitude”
        That’s something, but the caveat is important. What he does say is that when people suffer more damage, that is good for the insurance business. After the initial payout, demand grows. And he’s saying shareholders should be of good cheer.

  10. A single share in Berkshire Hathaway, Buffett’s company, trades at about 208,000.00 USD. The Guardian is running with an annual loss of £ 25,000,000.00 – I think I know which of them has the better business acumen.


  11. The standard insurance formula calculates premiums based of the product of the probability of loss times the severity of the loss.
    Warren Buffett is insuring based on the probability of loss in the real world and not the probability of loss in broken climate models that have never shown any skill at predicting what actually happens in the real world. Buffett made a fortune betting against the increased frequency and severity of hurricanes that was predicted to occur after Hurricane Katrina.
    Green nincompoops telling Warren Buffett how to invest would be like me telling Roger Federer that he does not know how to serve and that I know better.

  12. After reading about UN climate hypocrite Leo dicaprios ” Eco resort ” which will cover 1/2 the land area of a previously uninhabited and undeveloped tropical island with capital intensive energy intensive residences for uber wealthy oligarchs and His eco conferences , my first thought was who in the world would insure a beach front sea level mega development on an island barely above sea level in the middle of the Caribbean hurricane zone ? Even with a former Goldman Sachs honcho as his partner who would insure such a thing ? Inquiring minds want to know . If actions speak louder than words clearly Leo and his buds aren’t too concerned about sea level rise or the threat of future hurricanes .

  13. If you accept the fact that the Earth’s climate systems are too complex to model and understand then it seems to me that adding on the additional layer of an even more complex world economy pretty much makes economic predictions of the impact of climate change completely impossible.

  14. friend told me.
    agw must be real… the insurance companies believe it is.
    true ,
    left me standing jawdropped

  15. Now here’s a real money-losing insurance program …

    Union of Concerned Scientists: Overwhelming Risk. Rethinking Flood Insurance in a World of Rising Seas

    The cost of coastal property insurance, often subsidized by taxpayers across the country, does not adequately reflect the true risks faced by coastal property owners.

    If Berkshire loses money the cost is borne by the stockholders who can stop being stockholders any time they want. The cost of the National Flood Insurance Program is borne by taxpayers who don’t have the same option.

    • ..and rising “sea levels” have nothing to do with the situation. They nailed it in their opening; “risky patterns of land development”, both location and capital intensity. When I grew up in NJ, many seaside communities had very well maintained “shacks” with cots and changing rooms (and an outdoor saltwater shower) where commuters could spend weekends. Other areas were marshes. When a storm hit (and there were many) there were minimal financial losses. When development got crowded and “pricey”, private insurance companies realized premiums were not going to cover losses and they pulled out of the market. Taxpayers stepped in with Federal Flood insurance.
      Enter the Moral Hazard mentioned above.

  16. This nicely exposes the Green Blob’s failure to accept ANY contrary opinion to AGW or any component of it. Criticism = heresy, with NO exceptions. What Warren Buffet doesn’t know about his business isn’t worth knowing, yet rather issue a considered response their reaction is simply to lash out and attack everything he said. Pitiful stuff.

  17. People don’t read the Guardian to learn anything (and fewer are reading it all) which is good since they never will.

    ‘Airlines illustrate just how hard it can be to keep rates rising in step with fluctuations in jet fuel prices. …’

    Er, given their increase in profits due to fuel costs falling I don’t think they are having much of a problem. Although now they are facing demands to reduce ticket prices in the light of the increased profits.

  18. As usual, leftists assume that they know more about running a business than do the people actually running that business.

  19. So what happens to the insurance biz when, as seems likely to me, unsupported fears of warming cause them to raise their rates above what the market will bear. Companies do sometimes decide to self-insure if it’s cheaper to set aside reserves than buy coverage. They could even face charges of price gouging, which damages them reputation-wise or even forces them to pay damages and fines.

    • Florida has the Office of Insurance Regulation that regulates insurance companies and their agents operating in Florida. It acts in the best interest of the people of Florida including approving/modifying requests for rate increases.

      BTW, this is precisely the reason it would be a very bad idea to allow insurance to be sold across state lines. Now, if you have a complaint against an insurance company or its agents you can take it to the Florida Division of Consumer Affairs who will look into it. It is handled at the state level where you will actually have it resolved one way or the other. Imagine if you could only file a complaint at the national level with the Commerce Dept. HA! What are the chances your complaint would even be reviewed let alone have any action taken on it. So when I hear candidates or other people proclaim the “across state lines” solution I know that they have very little knowledge of how the insurance industry actually operates.

      • Insurance regulators actually regulate insurance to protect their friends in the insurance industry. This is true for all states.
        Even better. If you have a complaint against an insurance company, take your business elsewhere and leave the govt out of it.

      • The state issues licenses to brokerages and agents under the statutes of that state. The statutes set the criteria for the issuance of these licenses and the oversight power of the businesses once licensed. It is presumed by the state that the consumer is not educated enough to know when they are being cheated so the state monitors insurance activity and acts as a consumer protection agency. Here is an example. It is called “churning”. Agents work on commission and it is illegal for an insurance agent to change a person from one product to another if the change harms the person financially just so the agent can earn a commission. If this happens and a complaint is filed on suspicion then the state will investigate. The state has the power under the statues to subpoena company records and hold hearings which could result in administrative or financial punishment. No other entity can do this. If you are cheated out of money, how would taking your business elsewhere get your money back? Who would stop the agent or agency from doing it over and over again? State licensing and oversight of insurance and real estate are examples of what the government is supposed to be doing.

  20. The human race should hedge our bets on things climate. Of all the governments, major global institutions, banks, pension funds, hedge funds and private equity funds, Buffet seems to be the only one to have done any due diligence on the finance of climate change. However, what needs to be done is a thorough due diligence audit on the science, economics and finance of the failing global warming CAGW paradigm and the only group doing this is Cool Futures Funds Management.
    They are literally hedging their bets on climate change by systematically doing a due diligence audit as above and then taking positions accordingly.

    • Or at least not come across as obvious cases of anti-fact checking advocacy zealots. There should be a behavioral characteristics model for this that flashes red when all the warning signs point to it. Such a model would also be warning about detriment in progress with science process and science education. We certainly have a lot of behaviors to pick from for a model, just not a lot of whistle blowers with retirement incomes and legal defense funds to fall back on. They can’t even be sure which embassies to hide out in, like Wikileaks.

  21. The typical goal in such shareholder campaigns to get the target company to acknowledge that climate change threatens its profitability, undermining investor confidence while seeming to validate campaigners’ demands that the company divest its holdings in fossil-energy assets and invest instead in renewables. Berkshire Hathaway doesn’t invest in energy companies ( So presumably the activists’ objective is to enlist Buffett as a mouthpiece for climate alarm. I go into more detail in this post:

  22. “but the damage caused by the increasing frequency and force of extreme weather events associated with a warming planet is set to become unmanageable,”

    This kind of urgency cannot be left to whenever insurance companies feel the need to prepare.
    A governmental role is vital now. A new climate excise tax on all insurance policies needs to be imposed immediately to build an adequate climate fund necessary to handle the coming damage claims.

    Eventually, it will be necessary to weed out the middleman insurance companies altogether and establish universal coverage similar to the medicare for all healthcare.

    The challenge ahead cannot be left to the profit motivated private sector to handle.

    • Steve Oregon March 8, 2016 at 8:25 am

      “Eventually, it will be necessary to weed out the middleman insurance companies altogether and establish universal coverage similar to the medicare for all healthcare. ”
      Oh, you mean like National Flood Insurance? That program is over $26 billion in debt. Because it’s legal authority comes from Congress it is only Congress that can change the program. So you have elected officials caring only about their reelection making financial decisions. Very bad idea and one that has proven disastrous in the past.

      • Placing buildings and related infrastructure in areas prone to destruction by natural events is stupid. Stupid always costs lots of money.

      • Which is why it’s a bad idea to put insurance regulation in the hands of govt. Even state govt.

    • Riiiggghhhtttt Steve.

      The government does things so much better….IRS, VA, Student loans, FCC, FDA, spying on innocent citizens, etc, etc.

      If you have no competition and sovereign immunity, there are almost no consequences for malperformance. Toss in just a little corruption and things go to hell pretty quickly.

    • I love the way the fool actually cites medicare as an example of a program that needs to be copied for the rest of the economy.
      Billions in the red. Doctors abandoning it right and left.

      The govt does nothing well. There is a tiny, tiny handful of things that it does less badly than does the private sector. Such things are marked by non-exclusivity. For example, when you provide defense, you can’t provide defense for one house, but not for it’s neighbor.
      For all other things, the private sector always does a better job.

  23. Anyone who presumes to school Warren Buffet on casualty loss calculations is smoking their own dope.

    • Doug

      The price is irrelevant, it’s the change in the price, and that’s where Berkshire has performed magnificently. For those into P/E, BRK/A PE is 15; Amazon’s is 448 (yes: four hundred forty eight).

  24. When I was a young man I lived in Omaha a few years. I was amazed as the mature residents there dismissed the intense and panicky financial excitement that rolled out of New York and the glitzy and fast paced show biz excitement that rolled out of Hollywood. Omaha natives remain calm and shunned all that hype. In the end, it seems they were able to filter out the noise and grasp the important points. I wish I had realized how smart they were and learned to think like them. Instead I clamored until I made it to New York and eventually sampled a bit of Hollywood. Now as an old man I can only express my admiration for the people of Omaha and laugh at all the silliness I endured in the big Apple and the show biz capital. Hooray for Omaha.

  25. It is a shame there is no insurance available to cover losses due to confiscatory climate mitigation policies.

    • It’s called the ballot box, it’s free, and people are staying away in droves. Go figure,

  26. Invasion by space monsters will probably not be disasterous for the insurance business either.

  27. Buffet makes very clear a major difference between a corporation and government. His business takes in insurance revenue, re-invests the funds in a way which protects his stakeholders and grows the kitty until the time comes that some funds are needed.

    Government takes in money long after it has already been spent and pays interest on the ever-swelling deficit, knowing it may simply confiscate ever more wealth when it is needed.

  28. Buffet’s message is insurance companies will not be blind-sided by climate change as it is slow moving which allows timely adjustments. Earthquakes and subsequent tsunamis, on the other hand…

    • Actually, in the recent past, Buffet has also made a killing (sorry about that) on earthquake insurance.

  29. I was joking above. Trying to say the most preposterous thing possible.
    That’s how bad the lunatic side is.
    It’s hard to deliberately out absurd them.

  30. “Berkshire has now operated at an underwriting profit for 13 consecutive years…”

  31. At least Warren implies this is a religion by bring up Pascal’s wager. It IS a religion.

    Why aren’t we building devices to deflect asteroids if we are supposed to respond to all serious threats, no matter how unlikely?

  32. Ticketstopper You mean the von Mises that was subsidized by Rockefeller for many years before his university stint? Unsurprising given von Mises view that inequality was just fine, thank you.

    JD Rockerfeller single-handedly saved the whales, and did far more for the environment than Sierra Club or any other Environmental group could ever hope to do. His petroleum created an extremely efficient energy source that allowed for an extremely efficient economy, and afforded us the resource that allow us to have such nonsensical discussions like is carbon dioxide a pollutant. Poor nations don’t have the luxury to be so idiotic. Only rich nations have the resources to be so wasteful, and RD Rockerfeller made this nation very very rich.

  33. Well of course the watermelons are in uproar about someone taking a pragmatic approach to the potential additional costs of climate change. They haven’t been able to bully Buffet into conceding CAGW will make a massive difference to his business! Now the premiums of certain ‘climate-associated’ businesses and industries WON’T have their premiums jacked through the roof, adding further pressure to their businesses that are almost regulated out of existence. AND they won’t be able to bleat about how ‘yet another insightful visionary’ is recognising the catastrophic consequences if all the bad bad things we are doing to Mother Earth….why won’t everyone else!?

    Now what I’d REALLY like to see is a direct question to all companies involved in renewables schemes to publically disclose the risks to their businesses if CAGW is exposed as a scam and the billions of dollars in subsidies are susddenly shut off.
    What then hmmm…?

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