(Dow Jones) Germany's Munich Re AG (MUV2.XE), one of the world's largest reinsurers worldwide, Tuesday warned that losses caused by climate change will continue to rise in the future, calling for a near-term deal to substantially lower greenhouse gas emissions worldwide.

"We need as soon as possible an agreement that significantly reduces greenhouse gas emissions because the climate reacts slowly and what we fail to do now will have a bearing for decades to come," said management board member Torsten Jeworrek.

Munich Re also said it will push forward its initiatives in the sector, including investments of up to EUR2 billion in renewable energy and a strong commitment to the Sahara solar power project Desertec, which aims to come up with a feasible plan for generating solar power in the Sahara within the next three years.

Munich Re said losses caused by natural disasters cost the global insurance industry around $22 billion in 2009, helped by substantially lower U.S. hurricane activity than a year earlier, when the insurance industry had to pay around $50 billion for damage caused by natural disasters such as storms, floods, earthquakes.

The figures are similar to estimates by Swiss peer Swiss Reinsurance Co. (RUKN.VX), which estimated at the end of November that the bill the insurance industry had to pay for natural disaster losses in 2009 amounted to around $21 billion.

Munich Re warned that "severe weather events accounted for 45%, or nearly half, of global insured losses" in 2009. It also said this year's lower bill for natural disasters and the absence of "severe hurricanes and other mega-catastrophes" shouldn't be taken lightly, as there was a large number of moderately severe natural disasters.


Copyright (c) 2009, Dow Jones. For more information about Dow Jones' services for advisors, please click here.