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Why a fine English summer is good for your finances

Dear Friend,

After one of the wettest and most miserable Mays since George III was on the throne of England, we’ve had a week of sunshine and increasing temperatures over here in London.

The whole country has suddenly put a smile on its face and weekend World Soccer Cup –themed barbecues and beach excursions are being feverishly prepared as the temperatures approach 30 degrees centigrade (85 Fahrenheit).

Due to our unfortunate geographical location at 50 degrees north we in the British Isles receive all North America’s eastern seaboard’s burnt out hurricanes as fast-moving but very wet and miserable Atlantic depressions.

In poor summers these depressions seem to form an orderly line out over the ocean, like jumbo jets coming in to land at Heathrow airport. Some years if you look at the Atlantic weather chart you can almost see a whole ruined summer mapped out in front of you.

I’m no climatologist but I do know that in England last summer was very poor, and so was 2004’s — but 2003 was a real humdinger with record high temperatures recorded not just here but all around northern Europe. Conversely 2004 and 2005 were record hurricane years and 2003 was extremely benign.

So please wish us a good summer here in northern Europe in 2006 and perhaps we won’t have a bad Hurricane season after all, despite what TSR and others warn!

Then again — the summer of 2003 was disastrous for mortality rates for the elderly — especially in France, where senior citizens died of heat stroke in their many thousands. Forest fires also raged across most of the Iberian peninsular and much of the rest of the Mediterranean.

So in insurance, just like everything else in life, it seems there is a macabre bargain to be struck — one man’s meat is another man’s poison. The happy family seaside escapades of your editor and the relief of Gulf and Florida-exposed writers have to be balanced with the woe of European Life offices, property insurers and forestry specialists.

But on financial balance — this year I’m sure the industry would swap a benign Hurricane season for pretty much anything.

So let’s get on with the news and get outside to enjoy the sun while it lasts.

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