World Insurance Forum looks at risks and opportunities of global warming

The reinsurance industry has produced a "first class" response to climate change, Munich Re's head of geo risks research Professor Peter Hoeppe told the World Insurance Forum.

Hoeppe was defending the industry against charges that it has been slow to respond to climate change.

He said: "This is a big success - there's no other industry that has had such an influence - and that's not through lobbying, but through providing expert advice."

His views were supported by fellow panellist Dr David Bresch, Swiss Re's head of sustainability and emerging risk management. He said: "I think sometimes we have been two steps ahead of the crowd."

The panel also discussed the opportunities arising from climate change - for example, microinsurance - and the potential liabilities that might arise. Expert lawyer Kyle Danish, partner in Van Ness Feldman, said: "We are always asked if this is the next asbestos - well, the answer is not yet, but time will tell."