Insurers Highlight Sector's Role in Climate Change Fight

Insurers Highlight Sector's Role in Climate Change Fight

Image CC licensed by Flickr user chase.chesser

More than 100 insurers joined forces this week to raise awareness of how the industry can assist governments with helping developing nations adapt to climate change.

ClimateWise, the Geneva Association, the Munich Climate Insurance Initiative and the United Nations Environment Programme Finance Initiative released a joint statement (PDF) Monday offering the sector's risk management and insurance expertise to governments in the fight against climate change.

The group's pointed to the recent floods in China, Pakistan and Niger as examples of some of the climate change impacts already taking place. Developing countries, they argue, will experience the most damaging effects from climate change.

Yet risk management mechanisms can play a role in reducing exposure to some of these climate-related catastrophes.

"Developing countries are most vulnerable to climate extremes, even though they contribute little to greenhouse gases," Peter Hoeppe, head of GeoRisks at Munich Re and chairman of the Munich Climate Insurance Initiative, said in a statement. "These are precisely the areas which have the fewest tools to manage and transfer the risks they face and they often lack the financial resources to adapt to climate change."

The groups contend that with international negotiations taking place, now is the time to embed insurance expertise into any global adaptation mechanism under a worldwide climate agreement.

"The insurance industry is making it clear: it has the expertise and the creative solutions to assist vulnerable countries and communities manage the risks of climate change," Achim Steiner, U.N. Under-Secretary-General and UNEP executive director, said in a statement. "But it is a partnership that works both ways. Governments need to act on this opportunity and harness this reservoir of risk assessment skills."

Image CC licensed by Flickr user chase.chesser.