where checking accounts rebuild communities
Back to homepageInstitutional ReportsSRI Financial Professionals DirectoryToolsNewsSRI Performance and TrendsAbout Us   

March 05, 2012
Reinsurers Call for National Climate Policy
    by Robert Kropp

After a year in which losses due to extreme weather events totaled $44 billion, representatives of the reinsurance industry call on US policymakers to acknowledge the reality of climate change and take action on a national policy.

At a Capitol Hill press conference held last Thursday, members of the reinsurance industry—defined by the Reinsurance Association of America (RAA) as "insurance for insurance companies"—called for meaningful action by policymakers to address the reality of climate change.

At the press conference, Senator Bernie Sanders of Vermont said, "People in the business community are speaking out about the risks associated with global warming. Perhaps no industry better understands the impact of global warming than the insurance industry, whose job it is to analyze risk."

"We need a national policy related to climate and weather," Franklin Nutter, President of RAA said.

Cynthia McHale, a director in the Insurance Program at Ceres, described why such a policy is urgently needed.

"2011 was a devastating year for extreme weather events in the United States, events that resulted in 99 federal disaster declarations," McHale said. "The US property and casualty insurance industry suffered an extraordinary $44 billion in catastrophe-related losses in 2011."

To make matters worse, "Demographics and coastal urbanization are catastrophic force multipliers making weather events increasingly more costly," Pete Thomas, Chief Risk Officer at Willis Re, said.

Mark Way, the Head of Sustainable Development at Swiss Re, said, "A warming climate will only add to this trend of increasing losses, which is why action is needed now."

At the Huffington Post, Mindy Lubber, president of Ceres, wrote, "U.S. 'residual markets'—risk pools backed by state guarantees—grew from $55 billion to $758 billion from 1990 to 2010. Government exposure—taxpayer exposure—is staggering."

"We need to stop digging this hole," Lubber continued. "We need responsible action to slow, stop and reverse the accumulation of carbon pollution threatening dangerous changes to our climate."

A Ceres report published in September described insurers as "an industry that, outside of a handful of the largest insurers, is taking only marginal steps to address an issue that poses clear threats to the industry's financial health, as well as to the availability and affordability of insurance for consumers."

Since then, however, California joined the states of New York and Washington in requiring insurers with annual premiums of at least $300 million to respond to the Insurer Climate Risk Disclosure Survey of the National Association of Insurance Commissioners (NAIC). Since 2009, NAIC has required that insurance companies with annual premiums of $500 million or more complete the survey.

The Intergovernmenta l Panel on Climate Change (IPCC) stated in November that warm daily temperature extremes, heavy precipitation, and extreme sea levels will increase on a global scale in the 21st century.


| Reports | SRI Financial Professionals Directory | Tools | News | SRI Performance and Trends | About Us | Contact
© SRI World Group, Inc. - All rights reserved
Terms of use - Privacy Policy - OneReportTM Network