Monday, April 27, 2009

Insurers gear up for climate disclosure law

Compliance Week: The insurance industry seems to be first out of the gate with new rules for disclosure of climate change risks. Insurance companies themselves, however, may be off to a slow start in complying with the new rules.

As Compliance Week previously reported, in March the National Association of Insurance Commissioners adopted a mandatory requirement that large insurance businesses must complete an eight-part “Insurer Climate Risk Disclosure Survey” every year. The initial reporting deadline is May 1, 2010.

The surveys must be submitted in the state where the insurance company is based, at which point the responses will be made publicly available by the NAIC. In this first year of compliance, the rule applies only to insurers with annual premiums of $500 million or more. Starting next year, the threshold drops to $300 million.

“There are some companies that have really been upfront on climate change for some time, and this is really an opportunity for them to advertise their strengths in this area,” says Howard Mills, director of the insurance industry Group at Deloitte & Touche. Other companies, he diplomatically says, “will be developing their positions as they go along.”

NAIC spokesmen say they hope the new rule will prod insurers to achieve “a heightened appreciation for the risks that climate change poses,” says Joel Ario, insurance commissioner for the state of Pennsylvania and chair of the NAIC climate change task force….

Road with fog, shot by Greg berdet, Wikimedia Commons,  under the terms of the GNU Free Documentation License, Version 1.2

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