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It's demographic change, not climatic

It's demographic change, not climatic

The article ''Insurance Firms Ask If Global Warming Swells Disaster Rate,'' March 29, suggests that climatic change is the primary culprit in the escalating insurance losses associated with hurricanes. The primary cause, however, of multibillion dollar losses is not a change of climate, but a change of demography. Hurricane Andrew, which devastated southern Dade County, Fla., in 1992, was the most expensive hurricane to strike the United States (though not the most deadly). The $17 billion of insured losses had nothing to do with climate change, but everything to do with the urban development in Dade County.

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The insurance industry should look at its business practices, as opposed to focusing on the academic scientific discussion of climate change. Although industry representatives may be tempted to resign themselves to the thesis of global warming, they will save their institutions' money only by coming to terms with the overdevelopment and overinsurance of dangerous coastal properties.

Dean D. Churchill Miami

Assistant Professor of Meteorology

and Physical Oceanography

University of Miami

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