Burned By Warming

Big losses from violent storms make insurers take global climate change seriously

Even before the storm that trampled through the East Coast of the U.S. last week, the 15th such tempest in the nastiest winter in recent memory, American insurance companies had forlornly concluded that all their carefully calculated predictions about the world's weather have been blown way off course. Aetna Life and Casualty announced last Monday that first-quarter earnings would plunge $120 million -- in part because of claims related to January and February's weather. Industrywide, weather-related claims for these two months may total $825 million, on top of $1.75 billion in insured losses caused by the monstrous winter storm that battered...

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