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Climate change fueling UK windstorms: Study

By Gloria Gonzalez, businessinsurance.com

5 days ago   Article ID# 4166858
Original URL


PLANTATION, FLORIDA (businessinsurance.com) - Climate change is likely to result in a higher number of more expensive wind storms in the United Kingdom, according to a study released Tuesday.

Temperature increases of just a few degrees are likely to lead to insurance losses for high winds that could be as much as 25% higher nationwide, according to the study conducted by Boston-based AIR Worldwide on behalf of the London-based Association of British Insurers.

“The latest findings from the climate change science community show that just a few degrees of global warming could potentially yield significant increases in the frequency and intensity of extratropical wind storms across the (United Kingdom) by the middle of this century and will likely continue into the next century,” Peter Sousounis, AIR’s assistant vice president and director of meteorology, said in a statement. “This report illustrates that there will likely be increasingly large impacts from an insured loss perspective.”

A temperature rise of 1.5 degrees Celsius could increase losses by 11%, while a 3 C rise could increase these losses by 23% and a 4.5 C rise could increase losses by 25% across the United Kingdom, according to the report.

“These temperature changes fall within the long-term projections of what climate change experts expect to happen,” the report stated.

These increased losses are not spread evenly across the country but are likely to be concentrated in Northern Ireland, northern England and the Midlands, with southern England potentially seeing decreasing losses from storms, according to the report.

“In the midst of all the other global uncertainties, it is important we don’t overlook the inevitable long-term impacts of climate change,” Matt Cullen, the ABI’s head of strategy, said in the statement. “Concerns about global warming often focus on rising water levels and the threat of flooding but this new research makes it clear the impact of other meteorological events such as high winds must not be overlooked.”

The worst wind storm to hit the United Kingdom in recent years is the Burns Day storm (also known as Daria) in January 1990, in which 47 people died, according to AIR. The insurance industry paid out £2.1 billion in claims, worth more than £4 billion ($5.16 billion) in today’s dollars, with damage worth millions more done to national infrastructure and uninsured properties.

Copyright 2017 businessinsurance.com   (Copyright Terms)
Updated 5 days ago   Article ID# 4166858


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