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« Bovver boys in pinstripes | Main | Communicating the pause »
Thursday
Feb272014

Catastrophe risk

I've been on my travels. This morning I was speaking about hurricanes and climate change at a conference of catastrophe risk modellers, adding a bit of sceptic spice to a discussion panel of insurance people, including one familiar name in the shape of Pielke Jr's regular sparring partner, Robert Muir-Wood of RMS. We had a nice chat after our session was over.

 

Much of the focus of the session was on shorter-term predictions than are relevant to climate change concerns, although there was an interesting divergence of opinion among the panellists, with Muir-Wood arguing against the insurance industry's traditional focus on historical data alone and arguing for a greater emphasis on models. Others took the view that unless the models included all the complexities and subsystems of the real atmosphere, the output was likely to be dangerously misleading. The similarities with the arguments over the use of GCMs in public policy decisions need hardly be stated.

 

I'm now on my way home and will pick up blogging on the train.

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Reader Comments (33)

BBC Report that the MET is saying its the wettest winter since records began.

MET web site says its provisionally the wettest. This appears to be based on records 1 Dec unti 25 Feb?

Feb 27, 2014 at 2:39 PM | Unregistered CommenterStacey

Dana and Guardian jump the shark with this headline...

Guardian - Is the BBC becoming the UK version of Fox News on global warming?

The BBC has decided to follow the Fox News model of "fair and balanced" reporting on global warming and climate change


he really didn't like Andrew Montford being on the BBC...

"The BBC is one such culprit, having repeatedly given climate contrarians disproportionate air time on its programs. Frequent recent BBC guests include blogger Andrew Montford and retired politician and founder of the anti-climate policy think tank Global Warming Policy Foundation, Nigel Lawson. The former was recently interviewed on BBC Radio 5 Live's Stephen Nolan show, together with climate scientist Paul Williams from the University of Reading. The latter was invited onto the BBC Radio 4 Today program alongside climate scientist Brian Hoskins from the Imperial College London and Royal Society." - Guardian

http://www.theguardian.com/environment/climate-consensus-97-per-cent/2014/feb/27/bbc-false-balance-fox-news-global-warming?commentpage=1

He also seems to think Lawson is a retired politician, instead of an active legislator in the House of Lords..

Feb 27, 2014 at 2:49 PM | Unregistered CommenterBarry Woods

Naturally the RMS representative argued in favor of using models, since RMS is in the natural catastrophe model business. I believe the insurance industry did switch to models like RMS and AIR's CATMAP over 20 years ago. They had previously made rates based on dollars of loss due to catastrophes.

Feb 27, 2014 at 2:52 PM | Unregistered CommenterDavid in Cal

You are missing the latest propaganda preaching from Nursey and co.
Gluttons for brainwashing can watch it live, now, at
http://royalsociety.org/policy/projects/climate-evidence-causes/

Feb 27, 2014 at 3:08 PM | Registered CommenterPaul Matthews

The following has been around since Nov 2010 but it is well worth a read :-

The $82 Billion Prediction

" .....Joining them was British climate physicist Mark Saunders, who argued that insurers could use model predictions from his insurance-industry-funded center to increase profits 30 percent....."

Note the motivation behind the use of "model predictions" and consider why the industry is so very concerned about "climate change".

Feb 27, 2014 at 3:09 PM | Registered CommenterGreen Sand

Barry Woods "Guardian - Is the BBC becoming the UK version of Fox News on global warming?"

So Dana fears that climate scientists can't hold their own against a single sceptic voice? I suspect he has cause for concern. I'm not sure I'd admit how pathetic his side was if I was him.

Feb 27, 2014 at 3:11 PM | Unregistered CommenterTinyCO2

What's the point of being in the catastrophe-modelling business if your models don't forecast catastrophes? Who will pay for a model that says "Just look at the historical data. Nothing out of the usual is forecast."

Feb 27, 2014 at 3:31 PM | Unregistered Commentermichael hart

Hi Bish
What are you doing giving a talk at a cat risk conference? What are your credentials? AFAICT you're a skeptic blogger without a PhD.

Feb 27, 2014 at 4:25 PM | Unregistered CommenterMonty

It is, at best, rent seeking for anyone to push for the insurance industry to rely on catastrophic future loss models. Since the so-clled models are custom designed on order by the reinsurance industry, the Cat model output in use today is no more reliable than the tobacco industry funded studeis showing how safe tobacco was.

Feb 27, 2014 at 4:33 PM | Unregistered Commenterhunter

The MSM regularly report "Insurance premiums to rise because of 'xyz' catastrophe"; and insurance premiums do rise.

But that particular 'xyz' catastrophe (e.g. 9/11 or Eyjafjallajökull) were one-offs that have not repeated. Why does the insurance industry never reduce premiums after the anniversary of a catastrophe?

Feb 27, 2014 at 4:47 PM | Unregistered CommenterJoe Public

Pielke, jr

"Hurricane Damage Risk and Predictions ....

"There has been no upward trend in hurricane landfalls or damage over the period of available data.

"Looking globally at all hurricanes and tropical cyclones, there are no upwards trends in frequency (top graph below, from R. Maue) or intensity (bottom graph below, from R. Maue) over the period of record. "

http://rogerpielkejr.blogspot.com/2011/01/hurricane-damage-risk-and-predictions.html

Feb 27, 2014 at 4:54 PM | Unregistered CommenterDon B

Monty

Why I was invited is a question for the organisers. I'm not sure any of the panellists had a PhD. I've done insurance gigs before and I think they find I tell them things about climatology that they haven't heard before. One of the subjects that was under discussion was the failure of the predictions for the 2013 season, so they would obviously want to hear views from outside the mainstream climatology tent.

That said, GCMs are moderately peripheral to hurricane risk calculations.

All

The idea that the insurance industry is hyping AGW so as to hype premiums is wrong. They are in a market and any increases will be competed away. Those companies like Munich Re who are more closely involved in AGW are probably doing it for the PR value.

The recent trends in hurricanes were well aired, including the Weinkle study that RP Jr was involved in.

Feb 27, 2014 at 5:02 PM | Registered CommenterBishop Hill

Pielke, jr.

"The Sarasota Herald-Tribune has an revealing article today about the creation in 2006 of a "short-term" hurricane risk prediction from a company called Risk Management Solutions. The Herald-Tribune reports that the prediction was worth $82 billion to the reinsurance industry. It was created in just 4 hours by 4 hurricane experts, none of whom apparently informed of the purposes to which their expertise was to be put."

http://rogerpielkejr.blogspot.com/2010/11/82-billion-prediction.htmlhttp://rogerpielkejr.blogspot.com/2010/11/82-billion-prediction.html

Feb 27, 2014 at 5:02 PM | Unregistered CommenterDon B

Don B;
"Sorry, the page you were looking for in this blog does not exist."

Feb 27, 2014 at 6:05 PM | Unregistered CommenterRightwinggit

Rightwinggit on Feb 27, 2014 at 6:05 PM

Try:
http://rogerpielkejr.blogspot.co.uk/2010/11/82-billion-prediction.html

Feb 27, 2014 at 6:26 PM | Registered CommenterRobert Christopher

Interesting article, Don B./Robert Christopher. If correct, then someone seems to have benefited.

Bish, if the AGW risk turned out to be zero, would the extra premiums be zero? Or would customers actually have to wait (possibly a long time) for the industry to compete away the initially increased premiums such as reported in the Sarasota Herald Tribune?

Feb 27, 2014 at 9:04 PM | Unregistered Commentermichael hart

BBC Report that the MET is saying its the wettest winter since records began.

MET web site says its provisionally the wettest. This appears to be based on records 1 Dec unti 25 Feb?

Feb 27, 2014 at 2:39 PM | Unregistered CommenterStacey

Also it is one of the warmest or the second warmest since records began in the year 4000BC. ;)

Feb 27, 2014 at 9:20 PM | Unregistered CommenterStephen Richards

Hurricane Damage Risk and Predictions ....

"There has been no upward trend in hurricane landfalls or damage over the period of available data.

"Looking globally at all hurricanes and tropical cyclones, there are no upwards trends in frequency (top graph below, from R. Maue) or intensity (bottom graph below, from R. Maue) over the period of record. "


I find jnr sloppy and tiresome. Snr is brilliant. Par exemple, ""There has been no upward trend in hurricane landfalls or damage over the period of available data." If you are not AGW inclined would read there is a downward trend in hurricane landfalls ". the "upward trend" bit seems deliberately misleading or sloppy and .......

Feb 27, 2014 at 9:25 PM | Unregistered CommenterStephen Richards

I respectfully disagree with the assertion that the industry is not seeking to profit from AGW-
1- the industry seeks to profit from anything possible that is legal and compliant to regs.
2- the reinsurance industry in particular has both paid for (as has been documented) dodgy models of cat projections, and also funding AGW promotional efforts that keep fear alive, and conincidentally helps to justify incredibly high reinsurance premiums.
3- since most governments are cheer leading AGW fear, the watchdogs have in effect been co-opted into accepting any risk claim coming out of the model sales force/insurance industry.

4- so reinsurance cat premiums are acknowledged to be higher than the loss experience justifies.
Which brings us back to Muir-Wood, his nice whitewash job, and the rent seeking of pushing even more models on the industry, instead of sound actuarial proactices based on actual experience.
Southwest England is flooded because of idiocratic policies derived from AGW models. They gave cover to your EA to go derelict and not keep the canals and waterways clear. Now the promoters of that sort of claptrap want even more of it, not a review of it.
I am sure they are all great guys. I have met a few of them. But that is not the issue.
Sticking rate payers with crazy high premiums based on hype is the issue.

Feb 27, 2014 at 10:02 PM | Unregistered Commenterhunter

The idea that the insurance industry is hyping AGW so as to hype premiums is wrong.

Ha!

As for the assertion that the CAGW hype is a watermelon commie conspiracy to deprive us of our liberty and property is entirely true.

Your Grace, the less you get involved in politics the better it is for your reputation.

BTW, I hope you get involved in these conferences out of goodness of your heart to spread truth and not because you are offered some numeration. Money, just like ideology, can play tricks on the mind.

Feb 28, 2014 at 12:29 AM | Unregistered CommentersHx

Those companies like Munich Re who are more closely involved in AGW are probably doing it for the PR value.

Yeah! to that, too. And all I used to think was that the only thing those capitalist pigs were interested in was to increase value to shareholders. Now, however, I can almost believe they do it for PR value at shareholders' expense.

Your Grace, this is an honest question to you: were you renumerated for your appearance in those insurance gigs, and if so, how much?

Feb 28, 2014 at 12:38 AM | Unregistered CommentersHx

Your Grace, I am amused, flabbergasted, disappointed, sad, angry, furious, perplexed and all other puzzlingly surprising 'unnice' things at your toe-curling naivety about the insurance industry.

Honestly, if you haven't a degree in PPE, stay out of politics and stick to science.

Feb 28, 2014 at 12:48 AM | Unregistered CommentersHx

I've done insurance gigs before and I think they find I tell them things about climatology that they haven't heard before.

It would be much cheaper for the shareholders if they just read the BH blog like the rest of us. But, naaaargh, they have to pay -probably- the blog owner so they can get the first hand account of what His Grace really thinks. And to leave no room for doubt, none of those invitations to the insurance gigs, which the regular readers of the BH find out almost as BTW thing, has anything to do with influencing His Grace's opinion about certain controversial matters.

Feb 28, 2014 at 1:02 AM | Unregistered CommentersHx

The insurance industry's deep and very profitable involvement in the climate doomsday hysteria is the best piece of evidence that the CAGW cult is not a commie conspiracy but a conspiracy of capitalist pigs and their affiliated useful 'scientific' idiots so that the rich gets richer and the poor gets poorer. I am amused that His Grace thinks that is not the case.

That makes it five in a row for me. Good form for a revolution.

Feb 28, 2014 at 1:11 AM | Unregistered CommentersHx

Yes, but just like there are no Ferraris in the car park of climate scientists, His Grace wrote this post not in a limousine but on a train!

That is six in a row for me. I am out of shots.

Feb 28, 2014 at 1:21 AM | Unregistered CommentersHx

There is a Scottish Science Fiction writer, Ken McLeod, who wrote a series about the end of the current world order.
Ironically, in light of the context of this thread, he drove his plot forward by way of hardcore Trotskyite commies who ended up in the insurance industry. They developed an amazing, unique way to hedge against and profit from nuclear arms and war and opened up the cosmos, to boot.
The insurance industry exists to pay claims. To do so, it must be profitable in all environments. AGW is a very lucrative environment, especially if the premiums are charged for something that fails to happen.

Feb 28, 2014 at 3:58 AM | Unregistered Commenterhunter

"Those companies like Munich Re who are more closely involved in AGW are probably doing it for the PR value."

Motivation is always a guess. I spent years working for a competitor of Munich Re. Maybe I'm too trusting, but I always thought they were sincere in their concern about global warming.

Feb 28, 2014 at 5:58 AM | Unregistered CommenterDavid in Cal

David in Cal,
"sincere" is not a synonym of "correct".
A social dysfunction as vast as AGW makes most of its believers "sincere".
But the reinsurance companies have
- raised rates far above risk levels
- funded AGW hype on TV shows
- promoted AGW hype in government hearings
- not done due diligence on the AGW hype claims
- made lots and lots of money off of doing the above
I am all for profits, the bigger the better. Based on an even informational playing field.
Refusing to seriously question the claims of AGW makes the informational playing field uneven.
What is that term used for attributing motive to skeptics? "Motivated reasoning".
Making big profits is a very common motive.

Feb 28, 2014 at 11:44 AM | Unregistered Commenterhunter

The BBC has decided to follow the Fox News model of "fair and balanced" reporting on global warming and climate change

As opposed to unfair and unbalanced.

OK, got it.

Feb 28, 2014 at 12:06 PM | Unregistered CommenterRick Bradford

For those who are interested, the 2013 North Atlantic tropical storm seasonal forecast is here and the verification report is here.

Information on the Met Office's work with the insurance industry is here.

Feb 28, 2014 at 12:38 PM | Registered CommenterRichard Betts

@RB Would that be Gambler's Fallacy
..of remember your wins and forget your losses ?

Feb 28, 2014 at 12:59 PM | Registered Commenterstewgreen

Warren Buffet is pointing out some interesting things regarding cat risk rates and losses.
AGW is very profitable, indeed.

Mar 5, 2014 at 1:49 PM | Unregistered Commenterhunter

I have created new blog on Catastrophe RISK, please visit and share your thoughts on
http://catriskmgmt.blogspot.com/

Apr 23, 2014 at 5:34 PM | Unregistered Commenterblog

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