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Are storms in the UK changing?

The UK is currently experiencing a series of damaging storms, with winds from Isha reaching over 100mph. Storm Jocelyn has followed close behind, arriving in the UK with 76mph gusts. Are storms in the UK becoming more frequent?

Climate Risk is InsTech’s monthly newsletter dedicated to sustainability and climate-related insurance news.

Are storms in the UK changing?

The UK is currently experiencing a series of damaging storms, with winds from Isha reaching over 100mph. Storm Jocelyn has followed close behind, arriving in the UK with 76mph gusts.

Storms in the UK are named when they are likely to cause medium to high damage, with the naming season running from September to August. A new alphabetised list is started each season. Since the naming of storms began in 2015, the furthest through the list the group has got to is Storm Katie. With seven months left of the season, we are already at ‘J’ in the list.

Whilst this may seem notable, it does not necessarily mean that storms in the UK are becoming more frequent. When looking at much longer-term climate statistics, it remains hard to detect trends in the number and severity of wind events in the UK.

There is currently no clear evidence that climate change is impacting storms, but some climate scientists suggest that windstorms may become slightly more frequent in northwest Europe in the future.

Whether or not storms increase in the UK, insurance has an important role to play; from providing quick pay-outs to individuals and businesses to supporting ‘build back better’ initiatives post-storm.

Intact but interrupted: Parametric solutions for non-damage business interruption risks

Physical damage is not the only concern when it comes to extreme weather and natural catastrophes. These types of events are some of the largest drivers of business interruption losses. For example, Hurricane Sandy in 2012 is estimated to have caused $30 billion in business interruption losses, largely due to its impact on transportation and power supplies. Natural catastrophes are the third largest fear for organisations concerned about business interruption losses.

However, a lot of business interruption losses caused by these types of events are not covered by traditional insurance. Parametric risk transfer, which a growing number of corporations are using to cover physical natural catastrophe risks, can help with addressing these non-damage business interruption gaps.

InsTech’s latest report examines the established and emerging use cases of parametrics for extreme events, weather-dependent industries and supply chains. You can download it for free now.

Evening Event: Getting ahead of the risk curve – future proof your risk management strategy, 5th March

Between climate risk, supply chain disruptions and digital vulnerabilities, corporates are facing more potential losses than ever. Join us for our next evening event on 5th March where risk managers, innovators and insurers will share their insights on emerging technologies and best practices. Topics of discussion will include net zero strategies, geospatial analytics and parametric insurance.

Networking Event: Sustainability in insurance, 28th February

While every insurance company is at a different stage on its sustainability journey, a lot can be learned from sharing experiences and knowledge. On 28th February we are hosting an event to bring together the insurance leaders working on ESG and sustainability. It will be an insurer-only evening, with limited spaces available. If you work in a sustainability role at an insurer or broker and are interested in attending, email us at [email protected].

Following on from this event, in July 2024 we are looking to host a half-day forum to discuss the sustainability challenges and opportunities that insurers are facing. For data and technology companies offering solutions in this space, we have a limited number of sponsorship opportunities. If you’d like to learn more, reach out to [email protected]

In the news…

Swiss Re acquires flood modeller Fathom

The acquisition will complement Swiss Re’s own data and modelling capabilities within flood risk. Retaining its own brand, Fathom will work closely with Swiss Re’s Reinsurance Solutions division to further develop and distribute its flood and climate risk data, maps and models. Over 2024 InsTech expects to see more of these data partnerships and acquisitions, especially in the realm of climate risk and property intelligence.

GeoSmart: over a million GB homes at risk of groundwater flooding

New research from flood analytics provider GeoSmart Information finds that 5% of homes in Great Britain are at risk of groundwater flooding. This type of flooding has traditionally been less widely modelled, leaving a knowledge gap regarding groundwater flooding within the context of overall flood risk. GeoSmart has created a modelling tool which covers all sources of flooding, including river, flash flooding, tidal and groundwater. The company’s data can be used to understand flood risk down to an individual property level.

Aon: over $100 billion insured losses from natural catastrophes in 2023

According to Aon’s latest report, weather events and natural catastrophes caused $380 billion in losses in 2023, with $118 billion being insured. 67% of these insured losses were in the US. 2023 also saw the most billion-dollar insured loss events on record; there were 37, which is 23 above the average.

Floodbase and Capella partner for satellite imagery

Capella’s synthetic aperture radar (SAR) data will be integrated into Floodbase’s parametric flood insurance solution. The imagery from Capella’s satellite constellation will be used to determine if a pay-out trigger has been met. Floodbase has traditionally relied on open data sources, but Capella’s imagery (which can be acquired in all weather conditions) will now supplement this.

OneAdvent launches MGA for waste management and recycling businesses

MGA and broker services platform OneAdvent has launched Criterion, an MGA underwriting niche classes of business including waste management, recycling and mining companies. It will cover businesses in the UK, Australia and the Republic of Ireland, followed by the US and Canada.

McKenzie Intelligence Services extends geospatial provision to Lloyd’s Market

McKenzie Intelligence Services (MIS) will continue to provide its services to the Lloyd’s Market in 2024. For the past three years, MIS has offered multi-sourced data and imagery, accessible through its Global Events Observer (GEO) platform, to help the Lloyd’s Market make faster claims decisions and payments.

New accelerator launched for ‘environmental impact’ start-ups

Entrepreneurs, investors and other ESG-interested parties are invited to participate in a new programme of events running in the Midlands, UK, starting in March 2024. The accelerator, Agrivator, is looking for start-ups, scale-ups and SMEs with an ‘environmental impact’ business idea to apply.

Lloyd’s Lab Cohort 12: sustainable solutions to be a focus

Applications for the twelfth cohort of the Lloyd’s Lab are open, with resilience and sustainable solutions as one of the topics of focus. Submissions could involve organisations helping clients through their energy transition journey, promoting renewable energy and supporting energy-efficient infrastructure. Lloyd’s is looking for solutions that can help policyholders manage their climate risk exposure and support decarbonisation. Applications close on 4th February.

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