Tuesday, May 19, 2009
Climate change and insurance: A national and Washington State assessment
Global warming and the resultant climate change is a challenge for insurers, consumers, and regulators on many levels. Climate change appears to be influencing weather patterns, which in turn affects insured property losses. Rising ocean temperatures appear to be affecting hurricane activity. Drought is affecting forest health across many of our nation's forests increasing wildfire risk. Record windstorms and historic floods have ravaged the Pacific Northwest in the past two years. These are but a few of the potential impacts of climate change that could have a profound affect on Americans and insured—and uninsured--property losses.
As insurance regulators, we need to examine our operations and activities to face this reality to ensure financial solvency of insurance companies while maintaining affordable and available insurance for consumers. In Washington State, we have begun to raise awareness about climate change and insurance and have been helping lead discussions and activities within the National Association of Insurance Commissioners (NAIC). Please join me to learn more about what we are doing, and maybe even how you can help us protect consumers and maintain a healthy insurance industry.
Chris Carlson is a Senior Policy Analyst for Property & Casualty in the Washington Office of the Insurance Commissioner. Chris has 16 years experience in a wide variety of positions within the insurance industry. He has worked as an insurance agent, claim representative, public affairs specialist, and marketing analyst in the insurance sector. He also represented the insurance on a variety of committees including the Institute for Business & Home Safety's Safe Growth Committee, Firewise Communities-Washington Steering Committee, and the Insurance Information Service of Oregon and Idaho Advisory Board.
Chris began his public service when he joined the Office of the Insurance Commissioner in 2004 as Senior Policy Analyst. His current position in the OIC Policy Division is to provide analysis and recommendations primarily on property and casualty insurance public policy issues. Some of his current work includes assisting Washington State Insurance Commissioner Mike Kreidler in assessing the impact of climate change on insurance, disaster assistance initiatives, and re-writing claim handling rules. He also provides staff assistance to Commissioner Kreidler on the National Association of Insurance Commissioners Climate Change and Global Warming Executive Task Force.