Wednesday, October 14, 2009

Insurers offer green incentives

Dean Calbreath in Sign on San Diego: Citing fears of rising costs from climate change, insurance companies have begun changing the terms of their policies to encourage customers to act more green. One change came last month, as California's Insurance Department approved a plan to let insurers adjust their fees to encourage customers to drive less, which could result in a decline in greenhouse gases.

Another recent initiative includes reimbursing property owners when they install energy-saving devices or use environmentally friendly materials as they rebuild damaged homes or commercial buildings. Insurers say they want to do as much as they can to address the risk of climate change because they fear that environmental disasters, which are projected to keep rising as the climate changes, could expose them to larger losses.

This week, the Willis Research Network — an arm of one of the world's largest insurers, the Willis Group — partnered with San Diego's Scripps Institution of Oceanography to measure the risks posed from climate change.

Peter Moraga, a spokesman for the Insurance Information Institute of California, said the insurers' green policies are “a direct result of looking at climate change as an issue. Reducing our (climate-related) risk is a big part of this.”

The Home Insurance Building in Chicago, 1884

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