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What Would Nature Do?
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Next Leaders in the Climate Movement: Insurance Companies?

Insurance companies are likely to pay out billions in claims due to events caused by climate change—which makes them well-poised to lead the way to a low-carbon economy.
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Sandy Destruction photo courtesy of U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service

The insurance industry should become a leader in mitigating climate change, according to 
a report published by Ceres, a nonprofit that promotes sustainable business practices.

The report, “Stormy Future for U.S. Property and Casualty Insurers: The Growing Costs
 and Risks of Extreme Weather Events,” warns that if insurance companies don’t act, they are likely to pay out billions in claims due to events caused by climate change. This poses a risk to the viability of insurance companies and the economy in general, according to the report.

The report cites the $34 billion U.S. insurance companies paid out last year, much of which was for losses due to drought, fires, floods, and storms, as an example of the rising cost of climate change. It urges the insurance industry to address the issue by supporting the development of a low-carbon economy, and advocating for policies that reduce carbon emissions. Companies like Travelers and Swiss Re have been leading the way, and some government agencies and large fund investors are urging all insurance companies to be more proactive.

Jeff Raderstrong wrote this article for What Would Nature Do?, the Winter 2012 issue of YES! Magazine.

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