As the US gets ready for the Thanksgiving holiday, it’s sobering to think of the wildfires that are burning in the country’s southeast. After months of weather that has been way warmer and dryer than usual, there are several fires burning throughout Kentucky, the Carolinas, Georgia and (worst of all) Tennessee.
Earlier this month the New York Times published an op-ed piece discussing the new FIRMs in New Orleans. Now, if ever there were going to be contentious flood maps published by FEMA, these would be them. It is nigh impossible to discuss flood mitigation or flood risk in that city objectively after Katrina.
The author, Andy Horowitz (an assistant professor of history at Tulane), states his intent early: “I was briefly elated — and then, horrified — when, earlier this year, the federal government declared most of New Orleans safe from flooding.” At length, here is the cause for his concern:
After returning from a springtime vacation, and a hiatus from Risks of Hazard, I didn’t have to look hard to find topics to write about:
- Its hail season now, and I have some new stuff to share on that.
- Wildfire season is here now, too, and there is a post on that, coming soon.
- And, Houston has been flooded again so we need to revisit the challenges of underwriting flood in that city.
But, deciding what to write first was easy once I saw this video from AM Best at RIMS. Meg Ryan hosts an executive panel discussion that includes Kelly Lyles (XL Catlin), Rob Shimek (from AIG, who has provided much foundation for this blog in the past couple months – thanks Mr. Shimek!), and Inga Beale (Lloyd’s).
There is a lot of buzz in industry literature about how underwriting profit is increasingly an essential profit source, with investment returns on capital so low.
Last week, Property and Casualty 360 published a post by Sean Allen entitled 4 areas for the Insurance Industry to Modernize. The article is based on the consensus after the Xchanging London Market Conference last November, and it starts with:
Fair or not, many look at insurance as an outdated industry, lagging behind others of similar stature and scale when it comes to innovation.