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The Boston Globe

Opinion

Derrick Z. Jackson

Bad weather policy: Insuring against climate change

For insurance companies, climate change is not only real; it’s really expensive. Will Washington notice?

ENVIRONMENTALISTS ARE not the only ones who worry as projections about climate change keep getting worse and worse. So do insurance companies, which feel the effects financially as the pace of climate-related disasters accelerates. It is telling that, even as some business groups oppose climate-change legislation in Washington, many of the companies with the most to lose from global warming are treating it as a reality - and pricing their products accordingly.

Losses from extreme weather related to climate change are no longer chump change. Allstate CEO Tom Wilson this year told investors that catastrophic weather losses beyond hurricanes and earthquakes had risen four-fold over the last three years, to $2 billion. Premiums for homeowners were rising 7 percent this year, Wilson said, noting that a big driver is roof damage from hail and wind.

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