A family prepares to evacuate as the Thomas fire approaches their home in Ventura. (Los Angeles Times)
By Jacques Leslie Mar 13, 2018 | 4:15 AM
Despite being part of an industry predicated on anticipating risk, American insurance companies seem distinctly muddled about climate change.
In the investments and underwriting that insurers lavish on fossil fuel companies, they act like climate deniers, ignoring the overwhelming scientific evidence that the emissions they finance are producing a slow-motion cataclysm.
Insurers know better. In fact, European insurance companies began sounding the climate change alarm as early as 1973, when Munich Re, the world’s largest re-insurer, published a report describing climatic “processes such as, for example, the rising temperature of the earth’s atmosphere” that makes “glaciers and the polar caps recede … and ocean temperatures rise.” Since 2015, 15 large foreign insurers, including industry giants Allianz, AXA, Swiss Re and Zurich, have either divested or agreed to divest about $22 billion from coal companies, and three have stopped or limited coal underwriting.