2012 was the warmest year on record in the Lower 48 states and the second most extreme weather year in U.S. history. This is not a coincidence. Extreme weather -- stronger, more damaging storms, unprecedented drought and heat in some regions and unprecedented rainfall and flooding in others -- are the predictable consequences of rising global temperatures.
Eleven extreme weather events each caused at least a billion dollars in losses last year in the United States. A single event, Hurricane Sandy, caused more than $50 billion in economic losses. Insurance companies are on the hook for tens of billions of dollars in claims as a result of Sandy and other severe weather events. And American taxpayers are on the hook for tens of billions of dollars themselves, thanks to losses sustained by the National Flood Insurance Program as well as disaster relief spending
This raises a fundamental question: Is the insurance industry prepared? Have insurers analyzed and measured their climate-related risk? Are they planning for life in a warmer world? These should be essential questions for insurance regulators in all 50 states to be asking, and some are.