It has been said that the only constant is change, and that certainly is the case with earth’s climate. The rancorous debate about whether human activity is abetting this change is largely immaterial to an insurer, which, as an assessor of risk, needs to account for the vagaries of climate such as floods, wild fires and hurricanes, regardless of the underlying cause.

While the political heat around the issue in the United States may mean that American insurers are less likely to trumpet their efforts to account for a changing climate, little such hesitance exists in Europe, where insurers such as Zurich Financial Services Group, Munich Re Group and Allianz Group have well-publicized climate change initiatives underway. “Munich Re and its experts have been drawing attention to man-made climate change and its effects since 1973,” says Torsten Jeworrek, a member of the company’s board. “In the long term, global warming will lead to a further increase in weather-related catastrophes, the financial impact of which will have to be borne by insurers and the public.”

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