30 December 2003

Re-insurer counts cost of global warming

The [Munich Re] report says the natural disasters have also claimed at least 50,000 lives worldwide.

A senior research analyst for Australia's AMP capital sustainable funds team, Ian Woods, says the insurance industry is recognising the impact of global warming.

'I think Munich Re, like other re-insurance companies, are really starting to realise the extra costs of global warming on the insurance industry due to natural disasters such as floods, hurricanes, hailstorms and drought,' Mr Woods said.

Mr Woods has analysed the methodology Munich Re used to reach its conclusions about the dangers of global warming and he says it is well founded.

'Munich Re have done some really interesting studies on this particular issue and looked at the occurrence of major natural disasters over the years and they've seen the frequency of these disasters increasing over the last couple of years and they said it's strictly related to climate change,' he said.

If Munich Re is correct, the world can expect a sharp increase in insurance costs and the toll of human misery unless governments and industry take steps to reduce reliance on fossil fuels.

That is a view contested by some scientists and companies in the mining and resources sector.

Swiss Re seems to agree.

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