The Friday Five: Week of December 16, 2019

by Jen Smoldt on December 20, 2019

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If you care about what’s happening in the world of property and casualty (P&C), then this is the place to be. Each week, we serve up a bite-size roundup of the latest news, hot topics, and (admittedly subjective) tidbits to keep curious insurance professionals, like you, in-the-know.

Quote of the Week:

“This fire season started earlier than normal and it’s long, protracted and testing. It’s touched many communities that haven’t seen fires in decades.”   
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Ben Shepherd, spokesman for New South Wales Rural Fire Service 

  1. Australia looks back to move forward...Ancient back-burning techniques could help Australia manage its bushfires which have burned 6 million acres — an area the size of Massachusetts — and blanketed Sydney among other cities in hazardous smoke.
  2. Back in the USA…A federal judge has found the U.S. government responsible for the flooding of thousands of properties during Hurricane Harvey and it could be on the hook for $1 billion. The government claims they were put "between a rock and hard place" and had to follow protocols designed to protect downtown Houston from catastrophic flooding. 
  3. Not too surprisingly…A new report has found the threat posed to the global economy by catastrophic risks in 2020 is higher than ever at roughly $584 billion. “While reinsurers saw a year of below-average insurance losses in 2019, they remain wary of events that could generate record losses like the 2017 hurricanes and an increasing number of wildfires.” 
  4. Tropical depression Imelda…Made landfall in Texas in September and brought 30 inches of rain over a 12-hour period making it a 1-in-1000-year event. The speed with which Imelda intensified into a tropical storm caught everyone off guard, and now we know that 79% of the homes in the six counties affected by Imelda were uninsured because flood maps excluded much of the geography flooded from the mandatory purchase of flood insurance.
  5. 👏We applaud this guy → Chris Greene (aka The Flood Guru) who is on a mission to raise awareness about flood risk and the importance of flood insurance with 365 flood education videos in 365 days, 150 flood education blogs in 150 days, and 100 flood education podcasts in 100 days. To accomplish that goal, he’s been traveling around the U.S., shooting videos and addressing local flood issues. We highlighted Mr. Greene in one of our articles earlier this year. Skip to #3 on this list… 

Missed last week’s Friday Five? Check it out here.

Friday Five will be taking a break over the next few weeks. We wish you a joyous holiday season! 

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Topics: wildfire risk, Flood risk, catastrophe risk management

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