Insurance Industry Awakening to Climate Risks

California will require all major insurers to survey and report climate risks

Insurers in California, Washington, and New York will be required to describe the steps they're taking to address climate change.

Insurance commissioners in three states, including California, are now requiring that insurers report on how they’re preparing for climate change. Insurers will fill out a survey, which was adopted by The National Association of Insurance Commissioners (NAIC) in 2009, but was never implemented by commissioners in all fifty states. Instead, it’s been a piecemeal approach. California administered the survey in 2009 and ’10, requiring all insurers that met a minimum size requirement and that were headquartered in the state to fill it out. Now California is expanding the initiative: all insurers that write premiums worth more than $300 million and do business in the state–not just those based here–will be required to fill out the survey. New York and Washington are doing the same.

The Climate Risk Survey covers general questions: does the company have a climate change policy with respect to risk management and investment management, has the company considered the impact of climate change on its investment portfolio, does the insurer have a plan to assess or mitigate its own emissions?  Continue reading

Cutting Emissions…With Car Insurance?

The “Pay As You Drive” approach to auto coverage could save some drivers money–and cut lots of CO2, studies say.

Los Angeles traffic (Photo: Gabriel Bouys)

Most car insurance is priced in the United States kind of like an all-you-can-eat salad bar, says Justin Horner, a transportation analyst at the Natural Resources Defense Council. You pay a set amount once or twice a year, and then you can eat one little salad, or you can totally chow down, making several trips back for more food, piles of cole slaw and jello threatening to topple from your over-filled plate. Either way, it makes no difference to your wallet.

And, of course, regardless of hunger level, it can be kind of tempting to go back again and again, just because you can.

On the other hand, if you get your salad at one of those pay-by-weight places, you’re likely to be a lot more discriminating about what’s on your plate. That’s how we buy gas, says Horner.

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