Monday, April 23, 2012

Insurance and Climate Change: One of these is at risk from the other (Yale 360 Environment)

23 APR 2012: REPORT

Insurance Companies FaceIncreased Risks from Warming

If the damages related to climate change mount in the coming decades, insurance companies may face the prospect of paying larger disaster claims and being dragged into global warming lawsuits. But many firms, especially in the U.S., have barely begun to confront the risks.

by ben schiller

Given that insurers are likely to be among the first companies affected by climate change, you might expect the industry to be better prepared than most.

But that is not how it appears to many analysts, regulators, and industry representatives, who say insurers are showing a lack of urgency on the twin threats of massive future damage claims from weather-related events, and the prospect of growing climate change-related litigation.

A report published last September by Ceres, a Boston-based coalition of investors and environmental groups, puts it starkly. Surveying the disclosures of 88 U.S. insurance companies to the National Association of Insurance Commissioners (NAIC), it found that only 11 had formal climate change policies and that just 60 percent were assessing climate risks.


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