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Goal to raise awareness of growing climate and weather-related risks: U.S. academy


April 16, 2015   by Canadian Underwriter


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Looking to mark Earth Day Apr. 22, the American Academy of Actuaries has announced it will use social media messages to help bring attention to the risk of severe extreme weather/climate-related events and their incidence.

The American Academy of Actuaries will use social media messages to raise awareness of weather-related risks

“Our aim is to evaluate and help manage exposure to these risks from an insurance perspective. We do that by combining an objective perspective on what current climate science is telling us with our actuarial expertise,” Shawna Ackerman, vice president of the academy’s Casualty Practice Council, says in a statement issued Wednesday.

Natural disasters are taking an increasing human toll and are costing more, either directly to individuals or through their insurers, which face increasing property and casualty losses, notes the statement from the academy, which assists public policymakers on all levels by providing leadership, objective expertise and actuarial advice on risk and financial security issues.

Citing figures from the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration, the academy reports there were 80 U.S. weather-related events that cost more than US$1 billion each from 2004 to 2013. That compares to only 46 such events during the previous decade.

“The costs have been aggravated over the course of years by increased building along coasts and rivers. Wildfires in drought-ridden areas and other increasingly frequent extreme events are also behind the mounting costs,” the statement notes.

The academy is part of a group of North American actuarial organizations jointly developing the Actuaries Climate Index and the Actuaries Climate Risk Index, which will focus on measuring the frequency and intensity of extremes in key climate indicators based on controlled observational data of temperature, precipitation, drought, wind, sea level and soil moisture in the United States and Canada.

A second stage of this project is intended to include socioeconomic data, with the addition of a more targeted index that reflects the risk to populations and capital due to climate change, the statement adds.