From the May 2009 issue of Investment Advisor • Subscribe!

May 1, 2009

Changing Climate

Joel Ario, Pennsylvania insurance commissioner and chairman of the NAIC Climate Change and Global Warming Task Force, says that how NAIC addresses climate change in public policy depends on what happens at the federal level. However, even though the first official results of the climate change risk survey won't be available till May 2010, he says there will be "considerable activity over the next year" in looking at how the survey questions are answered. The task force, he adds, has "already had conversations" with property/casualty, life, and health insurers on how they will answer the survey questions, "and if there seem to be issues with the way the questions are being answered, we might try to address this before [2010]."

Ario cites the value of conferences and summits to discuss the matter, held state by state across the country, at which insurers and officials can discuss ways each of them can address climate change issues. Pennsylvania hosted such a summit in the fall of 2008, says Ario, sponsored by his office, the state environmental department, and the state treasurer. NAIC also had a presence at the CERES conference in April in San Francisco, where the issue was addressed at the investment level.

"Rather than continue to have fights about whether we should do anything," he concludes, "I anticipate a coalition of the willing, working on what insurers can do to address climate change risk."

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