Before Hurricane Hugo swept through Georgia and North and South Carolina in 1989, the insurance industry in the U.S. had never suffered a loss of more than $1 billion from a single disaster. Since then, numerous catastrophes have exceeded that figure. Hurricane Andrew in 1992 caused $15.5 billion in insured losses in southern Florida and Louisiana. Damages from the Northridge earthquake on the Western coast of the U.S. in January 1994 amounted to $12.5 billion.
Residential and commercial development along coastlines and areas that are prone to earthquakes and floods suggest that future insured losses will only grow -- a trend that emphasizes, as never before, the need to assess and manage risk on both a national and a global scale. 'People today are asking the question, 'How do we scientifically evaluate catastrophic risk?' Read on.