August 2023

Executive summary

Climate scientists anticipate that 2023 could be one of the hottest years on record since data keeping officially began in 1850.

The formation of an El Niño is an exacerbating factor, as it drives warmer land and sea surface temperatures in some parts of the world.

This report explores the significance of the El Niño-Southern Oscillation (ENSO) cycle and climate change more broadly, as the frequency and severity of wildfires grow.

It considers how changing land-use patterns, the encroachment of human activity into natural spaces, and stretched fire suppression resources, are heightening the risk and exposure.


Devastating wildfires across the world in 2023 are a reminder of the growing risk and exposure.

  • In addition to the direct threat of being in the path of a wildfire, secondary and tertiary impacts may include health side effects and environmental consequences.
  • In areas where the frequency, intensity and cost of fires have gone up, firefighting costs are rising, exacerbated by inflation.
  • Mitigating the threat of wildfires is crucial for businesses and communities in high-risk regions, particularly as the latest warming phase of the ENSO cycle develops.
  • The insurance industry continues to play an essential role in mitigating the financial impact of wildfire events and helping businesses and communities recover as quickly as possible.

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CONDITIONS AND LIMITATIONS Gallagher's global operations, including a network of correspondent brokers and consultants, offers client-service capabilities in more than 130 countries around the world. This report and supporting information is not intended to provide legal or financial advice and reflects our understanding as of July 2023. It should not be regarded as a comprehensive statement of the law and/or market practice in the regions covered. You should not act upon information in this publication nor determine not to act, without first seeking specific legal and/or specialist insurance and risk management expertise. Should you require advice about your specific insurance arrangements or claim circumstances, please contact your Gallagher account representative.

© 2023 Arthur J. Gallagher & Co.