The number of global climate catastrophes and weather events costing at least $1 billion reached 23 in 2023, eclipsing the record of 22 set in 2020, according to the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration.

Executive Summary

"While hurricanes often allow time to prepare and marshal resources, more common catastrophes such as convective storms, wildfires and freezes offer little to no warning."

The observation from Allianz Commercial's Frank Sapio echoed other claims professionals interviewed by CM Deputy Editor Elizabeth Blosfield. They all rank catastrophe claims response as one of their biggest challenges, now complicated by the proliferation of nonmodeled events occurring in places where cats just didn't happen before.

The NOAA announced the record-breaking figure through the end of August with four more months yet to play out this year.

Insurance professionals say the growing frequency, severity and unpredictability of weather events is leading to instability in the claims industry.

“It’s more difficult to stage adjusters in the right areas because a lot of times, these catastrophic events happen in areas that never had a catastrophe before,” said Kevin Rampe, executive vice president and head of North America Claims at Chubb. “Making sure that we give our people the right kind of rest and ensure that they have the right kind of workloads, that they’re able to respond quickly to these events, is critical.”

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