Munich Re: Natural catastrophe and weather related deaths in 2012 were less than one-tenth of the 10-year average

Alarmism and fostering a fear of future events where the actual risk is well below the perceived risk is the stock-in-trade of insurance companies. A simple case of boosting revenues (premiums from perceived risks)  for any given cost (actual risk). It is inevitable that while statistics of past events from insurance companies are detailed and accurate any forecast from an insurance company will (must) exaggerate risks. There is no business if perception of risk is low.

When it comes to weather and global warming fears Munich Re is among the more strident of the alarmists. A fear of coming catastrophes by drought or too much rain or floods or rising sea levels are all actively promoted as new insurance products are touted.

Munich Re has just issued a press release about the statistics of natural and weather related catstrophes showing that costs for 2012 were below average and lives lost were well below average. Needless to say the headline is spun to help sell more insurance:

Overall, losses were significantly lower in 2012 than in the previous year, ….. 

Some 9,500 people lost their lives in natural catastrophes last year compared with the ten-year average of 106,000. The relatively small number of fatalities was due to the fact that, in 2012, few severe natural catastrophes occurred in emerging and developing countries, where natural catastrophes tend to have far more devastating consequences in terms of human lives.

Prof. Peter Höppe, Head of Munich Re’s Geo Risks Research then adds his spin to try and ensure Munich Re’s business for the future:

 “It is not possible, of course, to attribute individual events to climate change, each theoretically being possible in isolation. However, numerous studies assume a rise in summer drought periods in North America in the future and an increasing probability of severe cyclones relatively far north along the US East Coast in the long term. The rise in sea level caused by climate change will further increase the risk of storm surge. And, with no apparent prospect of progress in international climate negotiations like those held recently in Doha, adaptation to such hazards using suitable protective measures is absolutely essential.”

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