Monday, October 26, 2009

Federal climate change plan urged by Government Accountability Office

I can remember when it was called the government accounting office. Carrie Burns in the Insurance Networking News: The U.S. Government Accountability Office (GAO) released a report and urged the White House to prepare now for flooding and other natural disasters brought by global warming. Although there is no coordinated national approach to adaptation, several federal agencies report that they have begun to take action with current and planned adaptation activities. These activities are largely ad hoc, and fall into categories such as information for decision-making, federal land and natural resource management, and government-wide adaptation strategies, among others.

GAO’s report suggests federal agencies, working with Congress, state and local governments, should "develop a national strategic plan that will guide the nation's efforts to adapt to a changing climate.'' GAO’s report references the National Research Council, which stated individuals and institutions—possibly insurers—whose futures will be affected by climate change are unprepared both conceptually and practically for meeting the challenges and opportunities it presents.

“In this context, adapting to climate change requires making policy and management decisions that cut across traditional economic sectors, jurisdictional boundaries and levels of government,” the report states.

How a national plan would affect P&C and reinsurance actuaries remains to be seen. However, there is a growing debate over the causes and effects of a changing global climate, and the insurance industry recognizes the significance of responding to this inherent yet developing risk. “Insurers have and will continue to address this challenge based upon the available science, data, technology and risk management strategy appropriate and applicable to maintain the necessary financial standing to meet their current and future obligations,” according to Property Casualty Insurers Association of America….

Flooding of the James River in North Dakota, March 2009, shot by FEMA

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