WEATHER-RELATED RISK – Commercial Properties Increasingly Vulnerable


A new report highlights the risks to commercial real estate owners from natural catastrophes and climate-related disasters, which are happening with increasing
frequency.

The report by Heitman LLC, a global real estate company, in conjunction with the Urban Land Institute, found that the increasing risks from catastrophes are bringing new challenges to commercial property owners in terms of risk mitigation and securing appropriate property coverage, which may become more difficult in the future.

There are two main risks facing commercial property owners: physical and transitional risks associated with increasingly volatile weather.

Physical risks – This includes catastrophes, which can lead to:

  • Increased insurance premiums
  • Higher capital outlays
  • Increased operational costs
  • Decreased liquidity
  • Falling value of buildingsTransitional risks – This includes economic, political and societal responses to climate change and more volatile weather that can make entire regions or metropolitan areas less appealing due to increasing weather events.

The report notes that commercial property owners in areas that have seen regular catastrophes have started seeing either higher premiums for their property policies or decreased coverage.

MAIN IMPACTS FACING PROPERTY OWNERS

First, there are catastrophic events, like extreme weather such as hurricanes and wildfires. Gradual changes in temperature and precipitation – such as higher temperatures, rising sea levels, increasing frequency of heavy rain and wind, and decreased rainfall – are likely to exaggerate the impact of catastrophic events.
This can affect commercial properties in the form of:

  • Increased wear and tear on or damage to buildings, leading to higher maintenance costs.
  • Increased operating costs due to the need for more, or alternative, resources (energy and/or water) to operate a building.
  • Cost of investment in adaptation measures, such as elevating buildings or incorporating additional cooling methods.
  • Potential for more damages from weather events.
  • Higher insurance costs or lack of availability.
WHAT OWNERS ARE DOING

Survey respondents said that they currently use
insurance as their primary means of protection against
extreme weather and climate events.

But 70% of real estate and hospitality industry managers
said they had seen an increase in rates in the year to the
end of the third quarter of 2018, with an average rise of
9.1%.

While insurance will cover damages from catastrophic
events, it will not cover loss in value if investors start
shying away from an area due to vulnerability to natural
catastrophes.

Although insurance might provide short-term
protection, more property owners and investors are
looking for better tools and common standards to help the
industry get better at pricing in climate risk in the future.

These include:

  •  Mapping risk for the properties they currently own.
  • Reviewing climate risk and catastrophe susceptibility before purchasing new properties.
  • Using mitigation measures around their properties.
  • Working with local policymakers to support investment by cities in mitigating risk.

Attention !

Coronavirus – Mindful Insurance Remote Work Arrangements

At Mindful Insurance Solutions, our top priority has always been to deliver best-in-class service to our clients.  We chose the name “Mindful” precisely to be “present and willing to do something” with our clients, and that’s what we always strive to be—present with you in your business.

To ensure that we remain true to our name during the current coronavirus pandemic, we are taking every precaution possible to protect the health and safety of our team and their families.

Therefore, in line with much of the rest of the country, as of today, our team will work remotely, and our physical office locations will be closed.

For now, our plan is to maintain remote work arrangements for as long as local authorities require or medical experts advise.  We will closely monitor the situation to determine when we can return to our normal office procedures. The good news is that our technological capability enables everyone on our team to work seamlessly from remote locations. During this period, we will continue to be readily accessible to you. Your emails and phone calls/voicemails will be answered as per usual, and our Mindful Insurance professionals will work to meet your needs in all the ways you have come to expect from us.

We understand that insurance is a people-oriented industry, and Mindful prides itself on being a people-oriented company.  But while there is no substitute for face-to-face interaction, it is prudent to curtail such interaction as much as possible until things return to normal.  Therefore, Mindful also stands ready to interact with you via remote video/teleconferencing as desired.

These extraordinary steps are necessary to preserve the health of our team and to help curtail the spread of the virus, while upholding our commitment to you, our clients.  On behalf of the entire Mindful team, I want to thank you for your understanding and support during these challenging times.  We wish you, your families and your teams much good health.

In your service, stay healthy and safe,

William Donaldson President / CEO


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