All posts in Transportation

Small and young businesses disproportionately bear the costs of climate change

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Report provides eye-opening new insights into the demographics of commercial victims of climate change. Young firms, which comprise not only the lifeblood of many communities but are central to national economies, do not insure against what they consider to be less frequent, extreme events, and are therefore, disproportionately bearing the costs of the vagaries of weather resulting from climate change.

With the frequency and severity of extreme weather events and unseasonal weather increasing as a result of climate change, Weather & Economics has reported on the far-reaching effects to a wide range of sectors, including agriculture (particularly for farmers of citrus fruits, avocadoes, cocoa, viticulture, and cereals) as well as for the sectors of finance, sporting events, travel, transport, automobile parts, fashion and apparel, construction, food and beverages, and snow removal, to name but a few.

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Millions lost annually throughout the travel industry as a result of the weather

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It is the season of summer vacation, and one would be hard-pressed to find anyone not spending a considerable amount of time contemplating the weather and how it may be enjoyed or coped in the weeks ahead. The considerations are endless: when buying airline tickets and praying fights aren’t delayed or cancelled, packing for all eventualities (despite increasing limitations on baggage by airlines in recent years), and when booking tours and activities in advance, to name a few. However, despite all this attention to the weather, the possibilities for comprehensive insurance coverage for all aspects of the travel industry remain extremely limited.

Presently, the largest proportion of insurance for the travel sector is for airlines insuring against business losses due to aircraft damage or loss, in the same way that travellers can insure for enhanced medical expense coverage, trip cancellation/interruption coverage due to work reasons and involuntary job loss, emergency travel, etc.  For both sides of the equation, the traditional insurance scheme usually entails a standard one-fits-all cover, a deduction, and a field loss assessment.  For both, weather risks are not widely taken into consideration and the opportunities for more comprehensive and effective insurance for all aspects of the travel industry have surprisingly not been widely embraced.

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Paradigm Change: The Weather is Manageable

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Historically, companies lost money as a result of the weather, sometimes a significant percentage of their profit margins, and it was generally accepted that there was little to nothing they could do about it. But recently, the outlook has changed, and there is an unprecedented increase in the number of companies who insure, or are about to insure, against the consequences of unfavourable weather. Long confined to the ranks of fate, the consequences of weather on a business’s profits are now manageable like all other risks. Many understand and welcome this development, while others struggle.

Over the last ten years, we have met many business leaders, treasurers, CFOs and marketing analysts seeking to better understand the vulnerability of their business to the daily vagaries of weather. In most cases, the a priori assumption was that whilst weather was affecting sales, production costs, yields, prices or results, it was an external factor not worth attention, investigation or the allocation of resources. Whether the agricultural sector, manufacturing, transport, tourism, retail, mining, or beverages, the conclusion was always the same: these companies had always lived with the weather, and accepted its effects, and there was no reason to change that.

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Caught in a Snow Daze

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Percy Bysshe Shelley famously asked, “If winter comes, can spring be far behind?”. But as the spring equinox approaches in one week, that long anticipated date in March when the Northern Hemisphere welcomes the end of winter, an unusual thing has happened in an unexpected place.

The quiet little Italian village of Capracotta in the Molise region of southern Italy is claiming to be one of the snowiest places in the world after it was smothered under more than eight feet of snow in less than 24 hours earlier last week.

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