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 those that do offer coverage often limit what they cover. It’s also meant higher insurance premiums that many people cannot afford, leaving them uninsured or underinsured.
Commissioner Kreidler doesn’t want to see that happen in Washington state. He believes we must take action today to make sure that we are protected in the future.
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, was mandatory for insurers reporting over $300,000,000 in premium for 2011 and voluntary for insurers reporting less.
Previously, 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 forward to the report.
Actions to date
Commissioner Kreidler chairs the NAIC National Association of Insurance Commissioners’ Climate Change and Global Warming Working Group (www.naic.org) formed to:
- Review risk-management efforts by carriers and how they may be impacted by climate change.
- Investigate the use of modeling by carriers and their reinsurers concerning climate change and its possible impact on insurers' investments.
- Review the impact of climate change on insurance investments .
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.
In 2007, Commissioner Kreidler testified before the U.S. House of Representatives to discuss the issue and to push for proactive solutions. Read his testimony (PDF, 63KB).