After 2011’s record year of damaging natural disasters, insurance companies are speaking out on the reality of climate change and the financial burdens of extreme weather events.
Last week, Sens. Shelton Whitehouse (D-R.I.) and Bernie Sanders (I-Vt.) held a press conference with representatives from major insurance companies to discuss the need to tackle climate change.
"Perhaps no industry better understands the impact of global warming than the insurance industry whose job it is to analyze risk,” said Senator Sanders.
Due to last year’s unprecedented number of extreme, unpredictable natural disasters, property and casualty insurers in the U.S. experienced $44 billion in losses.
“These extreme events fit a pattern predicted by climate scientists, and we should take action now to minimize the damage that carbon pollution is causing to our country and our world,” said Senator Whitehouse.
“Our climate is changing, human activity is helping to drive the change, and the costs of these extreme weather events are going to keep ballooning unless we break through our political paralysis, and bring down emissions that are warming our planet,” said Cynthia McHale, insurance program director at Ceres, a coalition of investors and public interest groups. “If we continue on this path,” said McHale, “extreme weather is certain to cause more homes and businesses to be uninsurable in the private insurance market, leaving the costs to taxpayers or individuals.”