It doesn't seem like too long ago that I was writing about a "CAT-heavy spring" in reference to the many disasters that dominated the news cycle through that season.
Surely, in light of the talk about record catastrophe losses (at least the highest in several years), we'll soon be writing articles referring to a "CAT-heavy year." This weekend, one week after Hurricane Irene's trek up the Eastern seaboard, we saw:
- A tropical storm form almost entirely in the Gulf of Mexico, bringing flooding to New Orleans, Mississippi, Alabama and other communities that had in the past been ravaged by Hurricane Katrina and the BP oil spill.
- Changing gears, a wildfire in Texas has already claimed 1,000 homes. Texas set records for consecutive days over 100 degrees Farenheit this year; could this become a yearly occurrence?
- And if upstate New York communities flooded by Irene hadn't already had enough of Mother Nature, a tornado touched down in Amsterdam, near Albany, this weekend, causing property damage. Some amateur footage appears on YouTube.
Throughout the year, we've written about how insurers are using new technologies as part of their catastrophe preparation and response efforts. One wonders what innovations are yet to come. Will we see more of the budget devoted to modeling, mobility, and other catastrophe- and claims-related technologies? What about rewriting underwriting rules? How about deciding which markets to enter? There's a lot going on right now at every company -- but nature is relentless and may force certain issues to the fore.
Nathan Golia is senior editor of Insurance & Technology. He joined the publication in 2010 as associate editor and covers all aspects of the nexus between insurance and information technology, including mobility, distribution, core systems, customer interaction, and risk ... View Full Bio