Press Release
March 29, 2012

Legarda: Record-Breaking Catastrophe Claims Highlight
Economic Losses Due to Disasters

Senator Loren Legarda today encouraged heightened engagement of the business sector in disaster risk reduction and climate change adaptation efforts to prevent substantial business losses and economic development setbacks resulting from disasters of unprecedented scale.

"The US$ 800-million loss endured by insurance giant Lloyd's of London last year due to record-high catastrophe claims should be a wake-up call for governments and businesses to be prepared for the growing scale of disaster losses being absorbed by the economy," she stressed. Legarda, Chair of the Senate Committee on Climate Change, issued the statement following the announcement of Lloyds, a 324-year-old specialist insurance market, of US$ 7.4 billion worth of catastrophe claims in 2011, the largest catastrophe claims year in their history.

This was attributed to the flooding in Australia, earthquake in New Zealand, earthquake and tsunami in Japan and flooding in Thailand in 2011.

"Such statistics on losses due to disasters should not come as a surprise. The 2010 Asia Pacific Disaster Report revealed that in the Philippines, the number of disaster events have increased 3 times in the last 30 years. Moreover, while the reported number of deaths has slightly decreased, the economic losses from these events have drastically increased by more than eighteen-fold," Legarda pointed out.

Senator Legarda further stressed the need for the government and the business sector to work in tandem to ensure that amid threats of hazards and extreme weather events, the country's development goals are still within reach.

"As disaster risk reduction is everybody's business, a more visible action from the business community must be urged. Private companies should be encouraged to come up with their business continuity plans that will show how prepared they are to face disasters and be back in business as soon as possible," she explained.

"Business continuity plans make post-disaster recovery fast and efficient. The plan ensures that the business entity is least affected and can resume operations in the least amount of time. The recent floods in Thailand revealed how disasters can be a global issue considering the disruption in the supply chain of the affected manufacturing companies. The business community in the Philippines should begin to think about this," Legarda concluded.

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