Case | HBS Case Collection | February 2005

Swiss Re: Managing the Risks of Global Climate Change

by Forest L. Reinhardt and Adam Frost

Abstract

Examines the potential risks of global climate change to business and the strategies that firms and their insurance providers employ to manage them. Describes the structure and role of the reinsurance industry, providing the context for understanding Swiss Re's approach to managing the risks and identifying potential opportunities due to climate change. As the world's second largest reinsurance company, Swiss Re is exposed to a wide range of risks facing businesses and societies worldwide. Among these risks, those due to natural catastrophes are of particular relevance: the financial costs of such risks have risen steeply since the 1950s and, due to global climate change, are forecast to reach $150 billion per annum within a decade. Includes color exhibits.

Keywords: Weather and Climate Change; Risk and Uncertainty; Risk Management; Business Strategy; Business and Government Relations; Insurance Industry;

Citation:

Reinhardt, Forest L., and Adam Frost. "Swiss Re: Managing the Risks of Global Climate Change." Harvard Business School Case 705-021, February 2005.