First thoughts following the latest attacks in Paris.

STRASBOURG FRANCE - 11 JAN 2015: People hold placards reading 'No to Terrorism' during a unity rally (Marche Republicaine) where some 50000 people took part in tribute three-day killing spree in Paris.

STRASBOURG FRANCE – 11 JAN 2015: People hold placards reading ‘No to Terrorism’ during a unity rally (Marche Republicaine) where some 50,000 people took part in tribute three-day killing spree in Paris earlier this year.

Many things come to mind when you hear of a terrible terrorism attack such as occurred in Paris on Friday, French time.  The first is that such attacks should not stop any of us from travelling and visiting beautiful places/cities such as Paris. For not to travel would mean the terrorists have had a win and that is something that cannot happen. It was really gratifying to most of us the number of people that turned up the day that the Lindt Café reopened in Sydney.

The second is that I wonder what we have learnt from our past. It was only on the 11th November that we commemorated the end of World War 1 with the signing of the Armistice just outside Paris 97 years ago following the terrible loss of life that conflict caused and really achieved no long term positive result for either side.

The third is that between the private insurance industry and government reinsurance pools, the property losses should be insured and this will assist the community to recover quickly, at least from the property losses. The loss of life and injuries of course are a completely different story and our hearts surely go out to all those effected by such events.

The following is an article that was produced by the United States based Insurance Information Institute. While it is naturally biased in its commentary, to attacks that have taken place in the US, it does set out the amounts met by insurers and reinsurers in assisting communities and economies to overcome the effect of such attacks.

When it comes to loss of life, the attack in Paris sadly ranks in the top 5.

A total of 2,976 people perished in the September 11, 2001, terrorist attacks in New York, Washington and Pennsylvania, excluding the 19 hijackers. Total insured losses from the terrorist attacks on the World Trade Center in New York City and the Pentagon are about $43.4 billion (in 2014 dollars), including property, life and liability insurance claim costs. Loss estimates may differ from estimates calculated by other organizations. It is the worst terrorist attack on record in terms of fatalities and insured property losses, which totaled about $24.3 billion (in 2014 dollars).

The April 15, 2013, Boston Marathon bombing, which killed four people and injured 264, marked the first successful terrorist attack on U.S. soil since the September 11 tragedy. As of April 2014 selected health, property/casualty and workers compensation companies have paid or are projected to pay a total of $24.9 million for medical claims and property damage claims associated with the bombings, according to the Massachusetts Division of Insurance.

(2014 $ millions)terrorism table

Source: Swiss Re.

terrorism table 2










(1) Adjusted to 2013 dollars by the Insurance Information Institute using the U.S. Department of Labor BLS Calculator.
(2) Loss total does not include March 2010 New York City settlement of up to $657.5 million to compensate approximately 10,000 Ground Zero workers or any subsequent settlements.

Source: Insurance Information Institute.

I thank Adam Matteson of Talbot Australia for sharing the III article with me.

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