Insurers "distressingly absent" in push for US climate legislation

Published in: Cat risk, Environment, Regulation, US - Canada - Bermuda, Climate change and sustainability, USA focus

Companies: Rhode Island Senate

There is a “sincere expression of disinterest” from the insurance industry to help bring climate legislation to the US, according to Sheldon Whitehouse, Democratic senator for Rhode Island.

In a keynote interview for the Insurance Risk & Capital Americas conference next week, Whitehouse said insurers understood that “we live in a far more dangerous world as a result of climate change”.

However, he said the industry has not been actively lobbying in Congress because of other priorities such taxation and treatment of insurance products.

“They have been distressingly absent in Congress. I’ll tell you that my colleagues know who shows up and who doesn’t.

“There’s no more sincere expression of disinterest than not bothering to mention a subject in your politics. That sincere expression of disinterest gets translated right to members of Congress who think ‘wow, the insurance industry doesn’t really care about this and maybe all this climate denial talk has some reality to it’.”

Whitehouse acknowledged the industry has a significant role to play, such as using its modelling expertise to quantify the risk associated with climate change.

And he urged insurers to use their “huge” lobbying power to combat the flow of money from climate-denying groups to Republican politicians.

“It’s absolutely clear that the fossil fuel industry’s money and its machinery for obstruction and denial is behind what’s going on. The more we can put a spotlight on it, the more effective will be at diminishing it.”

The full interview with Senator Whitehouse can be viewed by joining the Insurance Risk & Capital Americas virtual conference, an exciting new initiative, combining a mixture of live-streamed and pre-recorded content, as well as networking via a dedicated virtual event platform.

It features three tracks covering all aspects of risk, investment and climate issues for re/insurers in the Americas. 

The virtual event takes place on 22-23 September and is FREE for insurers, regulators and commissioners to attend. Email [email protected] to receive an invitation.

To register for the conference and view the agenda click here

Once registered, the online platform for participating and networking at the virtual event can be found here

Cintia Cheong