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Thai Floods Shut Businesses; Insurers Struggle with Spate of Disasters

More than 40 factories in Thailand had to close on Wednesday because of flooding, Reuters reports.

Floods in the country have killed at least 244 people since mid-July. Another 167 have died in Cambodia and 15 in Vietnam.

“The full extent of damage has yet to occur, in particular the full impact of water flow from the upstream Mekong River,” the U.N.’s Office for the Coordination of Humanitarian Affairs said.

And on Thursday, Thai think tank the Center for Economic and Business Forecasting cut its 2011 GDP forecast from 4.4 to 3.6 percent, because of the floods.

Back on U.S. soil, the insurance industry is reeling from this year’s series of weather disasters. Ten weather events in 2010 cost over $1 billion apiece, the New York Times said.

Paul Kovacs, the founder and executive director of the Institute for Catastrophic Loss Reduction, said that insurance companies have long succeeded at calculating future risk by analyzing historical weather patterns. But climate change means that this practice must change.

A recent report by business sustainability coalition Ceres said that despite broad consensus among major insurers that climate change will affect extreme weather events, only an eighth of such companies have formal policies in place to deal with growing climate change risks.

Picture credit: McConnell Franklin

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