Climate change and weather-related disasters

Climate scientists have suggested that we will see more extreme weather as a result of climate change. Are there more weather-related disasters than there used to be? I have been wondering this recently but haven’t had the chance to verify it. The insurance industry ought to know the answer to this. So rather than trawl through boring scientific papers, I thought I’d see what the insurance industry’s assessment of the risk is.

Munich RE is one of the largest reinsurers in the world. They view climate change as “one of the greatest risks facing mankind”. On the Touch Natural Hazards section of their website, you can find analysis and statistics of natural hazards and catastrophes. I have found a graph of weather catastrophes worldwide from 1980 – 2012.


Here’s the cost of weather catastrophes worldwide from 1980 – 2012.


  1. That is very interesting Rachel. These are telling stats as they come from a source that should know from actual experience.

    1. Yes I thought it would be interesting to know what the insurance industry makes of it as it’s their business to understand the risk and to get it right.

  2. Population pressures today have forced people into areas that once were considered unsafe by previous generations. Greedy councils in large cities like my own are only too eager to sell off easily floodable land to developers. The result of natural disasters on such densely populated areas is bound to be catastrophic. Also, the complexity of modern buildings together with government building taxes means replacement costs are much higher today than in the past. One has only to look around and make casual observations to see these things.

    The hillside disasters in the developing world that we see on television where whole villages are sliding away after heavy rainfall are not the result of climate change but rather incorrect land use. Trees and forests which once held the soil together and provided stability have been chopped down to provide housing for a burgeoning population. The Scots did it hundreds of years ago leaving only heather on their hillsides.

    Thanks, Andy, for “The Climate Fix” reference.

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