Climate change and your insurance

Why climate change matters

Growing evidence suggests that climate change is worsening through droughts and other severe weather events, such as hurricanes, tornadoes, and floods. These natural disasters can destroy homes, cars, businesses and crops, leading to more and larger insurance claims.

As a result, insurers in some parts of the country have stopped offering coverage, and others have limited what they cover. It’s also meant higher insurance premiums that many people cannot afford, leaving them uninsured or underinsured.

What is the Office of the Insurance Commissioner doing about climate change?

Commissioner Mike Kreidler chairs the National Association of Insurance Commissioners’ (NAIC) Climate Change and Global Warming Working Group (www.naic.org), formed to:

  • Review risk-management efforts by insurance carriers and how they may be affected by climate change,
  • Investigate the use of modeling by carriers and their reinsurers concerning climate change and its possible impact on insurers' investments, and
  • Review the impact of climate change on insurance investments.

In 2007, Commissioner Kreidler testified about climate change before the U.S. House of Representatives and pushed for proactive solutions. Read his testimony (PDF, 63KB)

In June 2008, Commissioner Kreidler surveyed home and business insurers about their efforts to address the potential risks that climate change poses to insured losses.

Climate change resources

Climate risk map (www.climate.gov)

National climatic data center (www.ncdc.noaa.gov)

2014 Climate Risk Survey (PDF, 1MB) of more than 1,000 insurance companies reveals the majority are seriously considering climate change. Companies with more than $100 million in premiums were required to respond. Commissioner Kreidler wrote the foreword to the survey.

In September 2012, Ceres released a report examining the potential effects of climate change on U.S. property and casualty insurers (wwww.ceres.org). Commissioner Kreidler wrote the foreword to the report.

On March 7, 2013, the climate-change group Ceres released a report, “Insurer Climate Risk Disclosure Survey: 2012 Findings & Recommendations (PDF, 589KB)," based upon a climate-risk disclosure survey of 184 insures from all segments of the industry. The survey, which was administered by insurance departments in California, New York and Washington state, was mandatory for insurers that reported more than $300 million in premiums for 2011, and voluntary for insurers reporting less.

Updated 03/16/2015

See also

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