Insurance: A bigger splash

The part insurers play in paying claims for financial loss is well known, but increasingly they are taking on a wider role in response to climate change, writes Gemma Gregson 

My father can vividly recall the harsh winter of 1963. A farmhand at the time, he saw firsthand the threat the snow posed to the farming community. My children have fonder memories of the snow, but remember our local river bursting its banks during the storms of 2014 when businesses closed and homes flooded. 

Communities recovering from extreme weather know the role that insurers play in protecting against financial losses. However, their actions in mitigating the effects of climate change go beyond simply paying claims, and are becoming increasingly important as climate change affects weather patterns. 

According to recent research by Newcastle University, European weather could become more extreme in the future, with a worsening of floods, droughts and heatwaves. Professor Richard Dawson, co-author and lead investigator of the study, said: “We are already seeing at firsthand the implications of extreme weather events in our capital cities. In Paris, the Seine rose more than four metres above its normal level [in January]. And as Cape Town prepares for its taps to run dry, this analysis highlights that such climate events are feasible in European cities, too.”

Extreme weather events might be memorable because of the effects they have on society, ...

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