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Climate Change Draft Eases Up On Life Insurers

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Members of a National Association of Insurance Commissioners panel have loosened a life insurer data collection provision in a controversial global warming white paper.

The NAIC’s Climate Change and Global Warming Task Force adopted a draft of the white paper, on “The Potential Impacts of Climate Change on Insurance Regulation,” here at the summer meeting of the NAIC, Kansas City,

The paper recommends that insurers take steps such as offering discounts for use of “green” building items in construction, and that states should consider using catastrophe reserving to encourage sound enterprise risk management, to help ensure adequate capital is available for catastrophic losses associated with climate change.

Insurance trade groups have blasted the climate change white paper project in the past, but they largely were silent here at the NAIC meeting.

Wisconsin Insurance Commissioner Sean Dilweg, the task force chairman, said the white paper provides a baseline for insurance industry and regulator action on climate change issues.

It is “important to move ahead on adoption,” Dilweg said.

Originally, the task force called in the white paper for life insurers and other insurer to answer questions about climate change, such as questions about the effects of climate change on real estate investments, in the sworn interrogatories in supplements to their annual statements.

The revised version approved this weekend would move the climate change questions into a section of the annual statement that deals with forward-looking managerial discussion and analysis.

Michael Monahan, director of accounting policy at the American Council of Life Insurers, Washington, said his organization had been surprised to find life and health insurers mentioned in the white paper. He called the removal of climate questions from the sworn interrogatories a “huge victory for [the] industry.”


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