Insurers want to charge high premiums for risky policies and then pass the losses on to taxpayers.
Members of the reinsurance industry urged Congress yesterday to prepare the country for rising weather perils from climate change. Their warning came a day after tornadoes killed a dozen people in central and Southern states, providing a grim reminder of last spring’s deadly twister attacks.
The collection of reinsurance officials offered general activities that lawmakers could pursue to help address the climbing number of extreme weather events. They include adaptation programs to harden homes from storm damage and participating in an international agreement to reduce carbon emissions.
“The number of natural catastrophes has risen fairly dramatically,” Frank Nutter, president of the Reinsurance Association of America, said at an event with Sens. Bernie Sanders (I-Vt.) and Sheldon Whitehouse (D-R.I.)…
Climate change has been a lost subject this year in Congress, and Sanders, the liberal senator from Vermont, indicated that the insurers’ financial message might resonate with a wider body of politicians.
“One of the great frustrations that I experience is that Congress is not addressing the great planetary crisis of our time, which is global warming,” Sanders said. “For the insurance industry, global warming is not just an abstract concept. It is a matter of dollars and cents.”
Whitehouse, who occasionally makes impassioned speeches about climate change on the Senate floor, said conservative groups are using “propaganda” when they describe climate advocates as “alarmists.”
“These ladies and gentlemen are not alarmists,” he said, referring to the insurers. “They are professionals. They are businesspeople. They have billions of dollars in shareholder capital at stake and they have no room for foolishness in their decisions. They have to live in a reality-based environment.”