June 27, 2014 Articles

Insurer Files Class Action Suits to Recover for Climate Change Losses

One insurer recently looked to litigation as a tool for recouping past losses it attributes to climate change

by Erin Doran

Recent extreme weather events like Hurricane Sandy, larger and more intense wildfires in the western United States, and record droughts have all been linked to climate change— that is, rising global temperatures. Sam Eaton, Climate Change and Sandy (Nov. 3, 2012), ; National Wildlife Federation, Increased Risk of Catastrophic Wildfires: Global Warming’s Wake-Up Call for the Western United States (2008),; Study Links California Drought To Global Climate Change (Apr. 24, 2014).

These events have led to record high property insurance claims in recent years. Andrew Freidman, U.S. Dominated Global Disaster Losses in 202: Swiss Re (April 1, 2013), ("The insurance industry had its third-most expensive year on record in 2012, with global economic losses from natural catastrophes and manmade disasters totaling $186 billion"). As a result of these increased losses, insurance companies are looking for ways to manage climate change risk, including ways to predict and prevent losses from extreme weather events. AIG, Climate Change: A Call for Weatherproofing the Insurance Industry.

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