The Week in a Minute, March 30, 2012

So March was in like a lion lamb, out like a veal cutlet drizzled in olive oil with a rosemary seasoning:

  • Insurance Insider (via SNL – firewalled) provides the latest in the Whither Rates? soap opera, with details on the renewal of Chubb Insurance’s purchase of cat cover. Chubb’s cover was loss free last year, so may be a decent measure of how hard the market is. Overall rate increase of 10%, with the rate on line of the highest layer (400M x 1.65B) up 17%, the ROL of the 350M x 1.3B up 15% and the bottom (xs 500M) layer up a meager 2%.
  • Swiss Re put the 2011 tab for cat losses at $116B, topped only by 2005, the year of Hurricanes Katrina, Rita and Wilma. The graphic above cribbed what I found shocking: The Thai floods are not only the worst freshwater floods of all time, insurance-wise; they’re four times bigger than anything before them.
  • And expect more bad weather in the future: The global warming experts at IPCC predict a lot of extreme weather over the next century: “In coastal areas of the United States, property damage from hurricanes and rising seas could increase by 20 percent by 2030, the report said. And in parts of Texas, the area vulnerable to storm surge could more than double by 2080.” And rising seas could make Mumbai (pop. 12 million) inhabitable.
  • Lloyd’s lost half a billion pounds last year (about $800M), but its CEO says that’s not so bad, given that about a third of claims came from natural disasters.
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