Damage: People use pedicabs in a street in Valenzuela, Philippines, on the outskirts of Manila on Monday. More storms could bring more misery to the flood-battered capital and surrounding areas, where nearly half a million people are in evacuation centres. Hiscox Dr Michael Palmer will specialize in analysis and research at the firm, with the aim of improving the company’s understanding of risk management. *AFP photo
Damage: People use pedicabs in a street in Valenzuela, Philippines, on the outskirts of Manila on Monday. More storms could bring more misery to the flood-battered capital and surrounding areas, where nearly half a million people are in evacuation centres. Hiscox Dr Michael Palmer will specialize in analysis and research at the firm, with the aim of improving the company’s understanding of risk management. *AFP photo
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WEDNESDAY, AUGUST 15: A top scientist has been appointed the head up the catastrophe risk department of a major Bermuda-based insurance company.

Dr Michael Palmer — an expert in climate change and an Oxford University-educated Ph. D in atmospheric science — will specialize in analysis and research at the firm, with the aim of improving the company’s understanding of risk management.

Dr Palmer said: “Bermuda is an exciting place to be when it comes to the science of catastrophe risk and I am looking forward to building on the work that has already taken place here to support the management of our reinsurance portfolio, as well as looking for new opportunities in the market.”

Damien Smith, Hiscox Bermuda’s underwriting director, said: “Keeping on top of the strengths and weaknesses of the catastrophe models the industry uses is a fundamental part of helping us to select the risks we take and ensuring we achieve the right premium rating.

“Mike will be a great asset to us as we look to build a class-leading analytics team to support and drive the profitability of the company.”

Climate change and the possible risks in terms of claims has long been a concern of the insurance industry.

Disasters

In 2010, Bermuda played host to the World Insurance Forum, which attracted some of the biggest names in the business and which focused on climate change amid fears that changing weather could lead to more natural disasters.

The World Insurance Forum, held in March, ollowed a major international conference on the subject only months before in Copenhagen in Denmark.

Michael Butt, chairman of AXIS Capital Holdings, said then: “The issue of climate change is of enormous importance and our discussions couldn’t be more relevant or timely following the Copenhagen conference last December.”

Impact

The World Insurance Conference also looked at the potential impact of greenhouse gas emissions on the insurance and reinsurance sectors.

Dr Palmer joined Hiscox in 2005 and was based in the London office as catastrophe research manager. He has also done post-doctoral research at Oxford’s Rutherford Appleton Laboratory, investigating the effects of the tropical upper atmosphere on the weather on the earth’s surface.

Hiscox is headquartered in Bermuda, but operates around the world, including London, Europe and the United States.

It offers specialist insurance for professionals and business customers, as well as high net worth individuals.