Research into larger efforts to manage climate change-related risks


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Insurance losses average $50 billion a year.

Insurance in a climate of change

Research finds the insurance industry its increasing attention to climate change. The insurance industry, the world's largest business with $4.6 trillion in revenues, is making larger efforts to manage climate change-related risks, according to a new LBNL (Lawrence Berkeley National Laboratory) study. "Weather- and climate-related insurance losses today average $50 billion a year. Losses have more than doubled each decade since the 1980s, adjusted for inflation," says the study's author Evan Mills, a scientist in Berkeley Lab's Environmental Energy Technologies Division. "Insurers have become quite adept at quantifying and managing the risks of climate change, and using their market presence to drive broader societal efforts at mitigation and adaptation." Hurricane Sandy is only the most recent U.S. example of the kinds of increasing liabilities posed by severe weather events in a changing climate. Managing a $25 trillion assets portfolio, similar in size globally to mutual funds or pensions, the insurance industry has become a significant voice in world policy forums addressing the issue, as well as a market force, and investing at least $23 billion in emissions-reduction technologies, securities, and financing, plus $5 billion in funds with environmental screens, seeing risks to investments in polluting industries and opportunities in being part of the clean-tech revolution. Lawrence Berkeley National Laboratory