Insured losses due to natural catastrophes in the United States totaled $35.9 billion in 2011, and one in four businesses that close during a disaster do not reopen. But there are ways that both companies and individuals can mitigate future losses and adapt to a changing climate.

The effects of climate change on the insurance industry will addressed by Anthony Kuczinski, president and CEO of Plainsboro-based Munich Reinsurance America, at the Princeton Regional Chamber of Commerce’s luncheon on Thursday, October 4, from 11:30 a.m. to 1:30 p.m. at the Princeton Marriott at Forrestal, 100 College Road East. Call 609-924-1776 or go to www.princetonchamber.org to register. Cost: $45 for members and $65 for non-members.

“Whether you accept climate change as a fact or question its causes, it is clear that our weather is becoming more extreme and volatile,” says Kuczinski. “This trend can affect a company on many levels — from direct property losses caused by floods or windstorms, to the cost of insurance coverage, to the availability and price of commodities.”

Munich Re has been studying the phenomenon since 1973. The company’s database shows the number of major weather-related natural catastrophes worldwide has almost tripled since 1980. Kuczinski and his company believe these trends cannot be explained without considering the role of climate change.

Munich Re is one of the leading global reinsurance companies. It operates in all lines of insurance, with around 47,000 employees throughout the world. In 2011 Munich Re topped Newsweek’s Green Rankings, which included the largest publicly traded companies worldwide (the Global 500 list).

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