Failure to plan for the effects of climate change might challenge the stability of one of the largest sectors of the world economy, said Mindy Lubber, the president of the sustainability nonprofit organization Ceres, which authored a report that looks at insurers in three states. There were 11 extreme-weather events that each caused at least a billion dollars in losses last year in the United States. Superstorm Sandy alone caused $50 billion in economic losses.
"If climate change undermines the future availability of insurance – something we’re already seeing in places like Florida – it threatens the economy and taxpayers as well," said Lubber, whose nonprofit encourages investors, companies and public interest groups to accelerate sustainable business practices.
Regulators in California, New York and Washington state in 2012 required big insurers to disclose their climate-related risks. Ceres looked at those disclosures, which were made before Hurricane Sandy hit the Northeast last October.
Ceres found that almost all insurers have significant weaknesses in preparedness. Only 23 companies of the 184 required to make such disclosures have comprehensive climate-change strategies.
Climate change is a significant risk to insurers, warned Mike Kreidler, the Washington state insurance commissioner, who advocates for stronger climate-risk disclosure by insurance companies. There are some standouts, but his concern is that companies will pull out of high-risk markets or raise rates.
What happens to Florida if nobody can get insurance?
Everyone seems to be waiting on the federal government to fix this, and Republicans who control the House seem pretty eager to say "You're on your own."
Well, unless a disaster hits their district. Then it's "We're Americans, we pull together."
If things get bad enough, you figure the insurance giants will start demanding climate change legislation, or will Republicans simply let the coasts die?
Considering that's where the liberal elites are, what do you think?