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Although smokeless non-tobacco cigarettes have been around since the early 1960s, it wasn’t until Chinese chemist Hon Lik patented the modern e-cigarette in 2003, that they began gaining in popularity. A recent study has even said one in five British teenagers have tried e-cigarettes (http://reut.rs/1Dnbq7r). But are they really a safer alternative to smoking? And what consequences do they pose for underwriting? http://bit.ly/vaping-ecigarettes
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In 2014, there were already an unusually large number of aircraft accidents. And now a German aircraft has crashed in Europe. Topics Online takes a look at how aircraft are insured and how insurance companies deal with the risks. http://bit.ly/aircraft-accidents
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German insurers had to pay out billions for hail losses in 2013. Recent studies indicate that the trend towards more severe hailstorms in Europe and North America is likely to continue. http://bit.ly/1Mxl5Hs
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The small island nations of the South Pacific, to which Vanuatu belongs, are very heavily exposed to natural catastrophe risks. As a Category 5 cyclone, Pam caused extreme destruction in Vanuatu. Many people lost everything they owned, and the infrastructure was badly damaged. Some of the emergency aid and clearing-up operations will presumably be borne by the Pacific Catastrophe Risk Assessment & Finance Initiative, a pilot project initiated and implemented by the World Bank and funded mainly by donor countries. Munich Re is one of five insurers involved in reinsuring the project: http://bit.ly/1CAOsI3
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How quickly help arrives in a catastrophe region can mean the difference between life and death. The possibility of using social media to tap into the knowledge of as many people as possible on the ground offers completely new potential for crisis and catastrophe management. But many practical questions are still to be answered... http://www.munichre.com/en/reinsurance/magazine/topics-online/2015/03/swarm-intelligence/index.html
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This year’s RISK Award honours an innovative and sustainable project in India. The project, developed by All India Institute of Local Self-Government (AIILSG) aims to reduce disaster risks faced especially by women and children living in slum areas. It will receive an endowment €100,000.

The announcement was made at the UN World Conference on Disaster Risk Reduction in Sendai, Japan. The 2015 RISK Award jury included members of the Global Risk Forum Davos (GRF), the Munich Re Foundation and the Fritz Institute. Read more here: http://bit.ly/1Exs3Ns
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The latest addition to the Munich Re Art Collection is a photographic mural by Katharina Gaenssler (pictured here), which she created for a meeting point in our new building in Munich. It depicts the famous Café Ciné-Bal, a historic 1920s site in Strasbourg. Learn more about the artist and corporate art at Munich Re: http://bit.ly/1EuQztC
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It’s one of the wealthiest countries on earth and a popular destination for emigrants. But its thriving big cities, with their growing concentration of values, harbour risks for insurers. Read our in-depth look at the Canadian insurance market here in the current issue of Topics Magazine: http://bit.ly/1MQO6OB
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What conditions are most relevant for natural hazards to become catastrophes? Forensic disaster analysis can provide answers to this question. Supplemented by real-time information from social media platforms, this approach is perfectly suited to the rapid creation of reliable loss estimates in a crisis region. http://bit.ly/19gj46n
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Tomorrow’s partial solar eclipse over parts of Europe will be a stress test for power grids load management, as photovoltaic plants achieve their maximum daily output at almost precisely the same time as the eclipse. If the sky is cloudless, over 30GW of power – the equivalent of approximately 30 nuclear power plants – will be removed from the electricity network. Thanks to the predictability of the event, it's planable so the probability of a blackout should be low. But now the risks from the fluctuating renewable energy output must prove to be manageable: Read the full post by our experts on +Hartford Steam Boiler's Equipment Connection blog: http://bit.ly/1Exqwo1
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Cyclone Pam that hit parts of the Island state of Vanuatu was classified as a category five cyclone with wind speeds of reportedly up to more than 300 km/h. "This serves as a reminder that disaster risk reduction is key to reducing fatalities and loss of livelihood in small and less developed countries," says Peter Hoeppe, Head of Geo Risk Research. "Especially the small island states in the South Pacific are highly exposed to natural catastrophes. Rising sea level caused by global warming will increase the hazard of storm surges even further. Cyclone Pam has been accompanied by above average sea surface temperatures which intensify such cyclones.

"Strengthening the resilience of infrastructure and buildings are a priority. New insurance concepts, possibly in cooperation with respective governments, can also play a supporting role in helping people who’ve lost virtually all of their belongings in a severe catastrophe. The Pacific Disaster Risk Financing and Insurance Program pilot initiated by the World Bank is an example of such a risk management system. Part of the losses in Vanuatu will possibly be covered by it and will hopefully help these islands to recover.

"It is of course too early to estimate the losses caused by Pam. Cyclones of this strength occur every now and then in the South Pacific, but a landfall of a cat 5 storm on such small islands is a rather rare event."
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Munich Re’s Peter Hoeppe, Head of Geo Risk Research will be participating in several panel discussions this week at the UN World Conference on Disaster Risk Reduction in Sendai, Japan. He shared a few thoughts on the topic with us in advance. You can also tweet your questions to him using the hashtag #PeterHoeppe. He’ll be answering them live from Sendai on Tuesday.

"Risk prevention of natural hazards is becoming increasingly important, the number of events and also losses have increased dramatically in recent decades. Significant factors are population growth and rising values. Thus the number of weather-related natural disasters that have caused damages, increased worldwide from 1980-2013 to about three times. In Asia the total number of weather-related loss events has increased in the last three decades by more than a factor of four. The majority of scientists expect climate change to produce greater weather extremes and, as a consequence, a greater number of weather-related natural catastrophes. However, the trend will vary considerably according to region and type of event. Examples of weather extremes where scientists already assume that climate change is having a noticeable effect: heat waves, droughts, heavy rainfall events in many regions.

"Adaptation measures can be physical or financial nature: dams, flood plains, storm-proof basement, building codes, early warning systems, (micro) insurance. Additionally it is important that the risk awareness is sharpened. Adaptation measures can generally prevent serious damage. So for example since the Great Mississippi Flood in 1927 in the US around US $ 14 billion have been invested in flood protection in neighboring states. After 2011 another major flood hit the region, the total damage amounted to almost US $ 3 billion. The US Army Corps of Engineers calculated that without the previous safeguards the damage would probably been up to 237 billion US $. However, the fact that flood protection can lead to an increase of values in the protected area and thus potentially can lead to increased risk in case of a failure of the prevention measures (levee breach, flood exceeds the height of the dikes) has to be taken in consideration in the estimation of future risk and damages.

"Early warning systems and consistent action of government disaster preparedness can prevent much suffering: In 2014 before the cyclone Hudhud on the east coast of India and the typhoon Hagupit on the coast of the Philippines the authorities have evacuated many people. As a result, many lives were saved. This shows the importance of preventive measures. Further progress in this direction should be made.

"Increasing damages threaten especially the economic stability of developing countries. The resistance must be strengthened by investing in early warning systems, in damage prevention measures and in a basic protection of people affected over the remaining hardly avoidable damage by means of risk transfer mechanisms such as more here micro insurance.

"Munich Re contributes to risk analysis and prevention in the analysis out of our NatCat database, advice based on own expertise (such as in Sendai, at the Australian Business Roundtable, via MCII and directly to governments.) and through financial tools."
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Have them in circles
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DODD FRANK LORAX's profile photo
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wilson perez mojica's profile photo
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SKS Media Deutschland's profile photo
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Munich Re as a group combines primary insurance and reinsurance under one roof.
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Munich Re is one of the world’s leading risk carriers and stands for exceptional solution-based expertise, consistent risk management, financial stability and client proximity. The Group operates in all lines of insurance, with around 45,000 employees throughout the world.

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