Wednesday, January 23, 2008

Insurers try to calculate the risks of climate change

NPR's "All Things Considered" ran a story about the insurance industry's response to climate change. They quote two friends of this blog: Robert Muir-Wood, Chief Research Officer for Risk Management Solutions, and Evan Mills, an energy economist at the Lawrence Berkeley National Laboratory.

The message from modelers is ghastly for consumers -- the insurance coverage they need is badly underpriced. And all sorts of insurable risks are rising in new ways, which stresses the ability of insurers to cover the risks. As Mills points out: "Insurance is the industry people love to hate, but really, they're also messengers of risk and of the cost of risk and the nature of risk. And so as risk is changing because of climate change, because of settlement patterns, the price signal that communicates back, hey, to the customers, this is risky."

US Geological Survey photo of a Minnesota River flood in 1993.

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