- Where Insurance & Technology Meet

Climate Change: Touching a Wide Horizon

Individuals, commercial entities, governments, and insurance organizations have lately been taking climate change more seriously. The insurance community’s interest in this issue goes back quite a way, but with climate change getting a lot of press these days, parties at all levels – from concerned citizens to mega-corporations – are focusing on new methods to address the changes and mitigate damages.

TD Insurance creates Advisory Board on Climate Change

TD Insurance recognizes severe weather events and notes that 2018 saw $1.9 billion in insured damage from severe weather. Kenn Lalonde, Executive Vice President, TD Insurance, points out that TDI has “an incredible opportunity – and responsibility – to take meaningful action to address how we can better protect and insure Canadians and better support the Insurance industry.”

TDI is a signatory to the United Nations Principles for Sustainable Insurance (PSI).  To support this, TD established its Advisory Board on Climate Change; Lalonde notes this is “a first for the Canadian insurance industry.”

The Marshall Islands: 29 atolls, 5 coral islands … and a chance to disappear

The Marshall Islands is a nation of islands and atolls. The atolls and islands are spread over some 200 miles, just north of the equator and immediately west of the International Date Line.

The Marshall population is 70,000. The majority of denizens on the major atolls and islands have employment in hotels, teaching, scuba diving, administration, medical and public service.  On the smaller islands, creating clothing and picking food sustains many.

There has been an exodus by younger Marshallese, with the majority going to the US.  This could accelerate faster … much faster.  A recent ABC News article offered a dire warning with a surprisingly short time frame:

In a battle between man and nature, officials say climate change is threatening the islands’ existence. The most extreme predictions say that rising sea levels could make the nation uninhabitable as soon as 2030.

(Those “extreme predictions” come from SERDP and ESTCP, the US Department of Defense’s environmental research programs.)

Customers supporting conservation

Climate change extends beyond insurance, obviously. In April, Abacus Data, a public opinion research organization from Ottawa, conducted an online survey of 2,000 Canadians over 18 to get attitudes on indigenous conservation. Data found that Canadians are aware and attentive to cooperation and conservation. Almost all respondents support conservation.  Moreover, “clean water and air, protecting the land for future generations, and dealing with climate change are the more important reasons why conservation is important.”

The high-level results were held almost universally across the country: Canadians overwhelmingly support the conservation of this country’s natural spaces. Interestingly, data shows that “almost 80% back a federal program to support Indigenous protected areas that conserve lands and wildlife.”

So what does this all mean?

Working in the insurance community offers a large horizon. In some instances, we can expect complex physical damage. At other times, there are causes for misappropriated information. In most instances, there are many paths to understand, execute, monitor, and complete resolution.

That’s why I find insurance fascinating, especially when we can apply technology. I would welcome your questions, comments, and more.  Please share your thoughts below or, if you prefer, email them to [email protected].