Silver lining: Global insurance group Munich Re analyzes data from natural disasters to find solutions for climate change

For more than a century, global reinsurance group Munich Re has had an all-too-intimate view of natural disasters. Reinsurance companies insure the insurers. So when a natural disaster strikes, like a flood or an earthquake, and a local insurance company pays out a major claim, that local outfit can remain solvent because it is covered by a reinsurer like Munich Re.

That historical focus on worldwide weather events allowed Munich Re to witness something else: increased temperatures, melting glaciers and other bellwethers of climate change. So in the 1970s, the Munich, Germany-based company began collecting data on those catastrophes in an effort to understand the causes of global warming – and to find ways to reverse them.

“Having data and assessing the data helps us really to understand what are the drivers of climate change,” says Munich Re chief climate and geo scientist Ernst Rauch. “And if you do understand the drivers, you can find a solution how to improve this.”

But Munich Re ran into a familiar challenge faced by collectors: So much data, so little time. Until recently, there simply wasn’t enough computing power to analyze the 3,000 terabytes of data from 40,000 events that Munich Re had gathered.

So the company engaged the Microsoft Cloud and a bevy of young data scientists and engineers to store and examine the data, and ultimately to unearth new approaches to climate change. To read their tale and learn how Munich Re could turn risks into rewards for the planet, visit Microsoft Customer Stories.