An Insurance-Led Response to Climate Change
Anthony J. Webster, Richard H. Clarke
Climate change is widely expected to increase weather related damage and the insurance claims that result from it. This has the undesirable consequence of increasing insurance costs, in a way that is independent of a customer’s contribution to the causes of climate change. This is unfortunate because insurance provides a financial mechanism that mitigates some of the consequences of climate change, allowing damage from increasingly frequent events to be repaired. We observe that the insurance industry could reclaim any increase in claims due to climate change, by increasing the insurance premiums on energy producers for example, without needing government intervention or a new tax. We argue that this insurance-led levy must acknowledge both present carbon emissions and a modern industry’s carbon inheritance, that is, to recognise that fossil-fuel driven industrial growth has provided the innovations and conditions needed for modern civilisation to exist and develop. The increases in premiums would initially be small, and will require an event attribution (EA) methodology to determine their size. We propose that the levies can be phased in as the science of event attribution becomes sufficiently robust for each claim type, to ultimately provide a global insurance-led response to climate change.
For the full article, visit arxiv.org/abs/1509.01157
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