To begin to address climate risk effectively, governments, insurers, banks and asset managers, infrastructure experts, and technical assistance and research firms need to be enlisted to work together. Addressing climate change adaptation to reduce risk before disasters hit is the best chance to improve the outcomes of climate risk events.
This is especially true for low-income and small island nations. For many of these nations, resilience efforts are simply out of reach. Insurance may mitigate some of the costs for citizens, but it is of limited benefit in adaptation. The bond markets focus on short durations. And it can be difficult for small countries to obtain even basic infrastructure financing.
Climate adaptation requires significant financing. Basic asset-liability management says that long-term projects should be matched with long-term investments while mitigating long-term risks—like climate change. Linking insurance directly to long-term climate adaptation bonds can help governments more effectively adapt to and manage the effects of climate change.
This article by Milliman’s Michael McCord of the MicroInsurance Centre at Milliman and Abhisheik Dhawan of the UN Capital Development Fund says that coming together to address climate change risks should begin before disaster strikes.
Despite recent efforts to reform the National Flood Insurance Program (NFIP), most U.S. homeowners do not carry insurance to protect their properties against the risk of flooding. For most homeowners, the purchase of this coverage is mandatory only if they live in certain specified high-risk areas. However, significant risk exists in areas where the purchase of flood insurance is rare. Even in areas where flood coverage is required, data from the NFIP and private flood insurers do not indicate high degrees of coverage.
Beyond direct damages to property and communities, the flood insurance protection gap could have many downstream financial impacts. Homeowners insurance is integral to protecting the collateral that underpins the U.S. mortgage system. As a result, coverage gaps could create adverse financial exposure to bearers of mortgage risk including mortgagees, insurers, reinsurers, federal underwriting agencies, and bondholders.
In a new Society of Actuaries report, professionals from Milliman and catastrophe modeling firm KatRisk examine the countrywide residential exposure to flooding and downstream implications including its impact on mortgage default risk. They also consider how flooding may be affected by rising sea levels and evaluate how it could affect the financial health of residential householders.
Ethiopia is a country prone to many climate risks, which particularly affect its majority rural population. To manage these agriculture-related climate risks, Ethiopian farmers respond by spending their savings, selling valuable assets at heavy discounts, and reducing consumption.
Until recently, insurers barely had any footprint in rural areas with smallholder farmers. In fact, 2014 data shows that less than 2% of Ethiopians were covered by any type of formal microinsurance product. Because insurance is an ex-post tool and not all risks are insurable, a holistic approach to dealing with climate risks is needed to help vulnerable communities become more resilient.
In this article, Milliman’s Mariah Mateo Sarpong and Mebrahtu Brhan Gebre present an example of a holistic risk management solution that the MicroInsurance Centre at Milliman developed for smallholder farmers in northern Ethiopia. The product illustrates Milliman’s Climate Resilience Initiative’s holistic approach to enhancing climate resilience in low-income communities.
While many consumers may recognize the risk of extreme weather-related events, they don’t yet fully understand what they can do to protect their property from a flood, wildfire, or other catastrophic event. One effect of the growing awareness and discussion regarding climate change is that extreme weather events tend to drive consumers to inform themselves about insurance options. Milliman analysis of Google Trends dating back to 2004 identified an increase in interest for search terms related to catastrophe insurance, with surges of online searches occurring around the time of severe weather events.
According to a December 2018 report by Yale and George Mason Universities, a record number of Americans believe that global warming is real and are increasingly worried about its effect on their lives. In this paper, Milliman’s Nancy Watkins and Elias Braunstein explain in more detail the impact of extreme weather on consumers and how insurers can take advantage of increasing climate change awareness to engage more with the public about climate resilience.
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