The Insurance Industry, soon to be the first pillar of Capitalism to succumb to Abrupt Climate Change

“Climate change could punch a hole through the financial system by making 30-year home mortgages — the lifeblood of the American housing market — effectively unobtainable in entire regions across parts of the U.S.”
“Climate change could end mortgages as we know them”

“Natural disasters are being recorded more frequently than ever before. “Since 1970, the number of disasters worldwide has more than quadrupled to around 400 a year,” and “there are six times more hydrological events now than in 1980,” The 10 Most Costly Natural Disasters of the Century
“There is a logistical hurdle: when a catastrophe bond experiences a so-called loss event, the capital in the investment is suspended until the full cost of a disaster is pinned down. The phenomenon of “loss creep”, where initial estimates of a loss balloon months or even years after the event, has also spooked some investors. The cost of Typhoon Jebi in Japan last year rose from initial expectations of $6bn to $15bn.”
“Over two years, natural catastrophes caused a record $225bn of insured losses”.
Why climate change is the new 9/11 for insurance companies

“For the insurance industry, global warming has advanced from a future ecological challenge to a present financial shock. Together, total losses to the economy from natural catastrophes and “man-made disasters” reached $165 billion in 2018; that followed a 2017 that, at $350 billion, cost more than twice as much. As a result, according to the Swiss Re Institute, the company’s research arm, 2017 and 2018 were for insurers the most-expensive two-year period of such catastrophes on record, requiring them to fork over $219 billion globally in checks.”
Climate Change Is Hitting the Insurance Industry Hard

“Regulators are starting to worry about climate change.”
“Jenkins points out that the Bank of England’s Prudential Regulation Authority is leading the way on stress-testing insurers against the risk that the world misses its carbon reduction targets.”

“In such a scenario, insurers, especially in the U.S. where price increases are restricted by regulators, may find it increasingly unattractive to offer coverage,” he writes. “Greater lay-off of risk to reinsurers is one option. But more restrictive policies or wholesale withdrawal of cover are also possible. At some juncture underwriters will need to remove their blinkers and acknowledge that a world awash with worsening climate change risks is not necessarily just bad for the planet. It could be bad for the insurance industry too. A bit like 9/11.” Climate Change Tops List of World’s ‘Extreme Risks’

“Venice is on its knees,” said Brugnaro. “The damage will run into hundreds of millions of euros.” Flood, fire and plague: climate change blamed for disasters
“Last year, insurance payouts caused by climate-related events totaled $2.4 trillion worldwide.” Can Insurance Companies Weather The Storm? What Climate Change Means For The Industry

Clearly the cost of disasters is on the same Hockey Stick trajectory as our climate crisis yet “Business as Usual” carries on as if nothing has changed. All ponzi schemes eventually implode and this one will be no different except in scale. There is no previous analogue to remotely compare with the coming collapse.

I'm an anti-imperialist, environmental activist and blue ocean sailor, who is passionate about the earth and all it's inhabitants without favour. Brace for imminent impact as we bare witness to the non-linear unraveling of the biosphere and habitability disappearing for most if not all complex life on the only habitable planet we know of. To quote President Niinistö in North Russia: ‘If We Lose the Arctic, We Lose the World’. Folks we have lost the Arctic.

Posted in Abrupt Climate Change, Collapse, Insurance
83 comments on “The Insurance Industry, soon to be the first pillar of Capitalism to succumb to Abrupt Climate Change
    • And when one builds extremely heavy concrete & rebar buildings on crumbly porous LIMESTONE… Like the World Trade Centers, they may never find all the bodies still in that pile of rubble because they were disintegrated as they were smashed flat. What, still over a hundred last I read?

      The article link below is from my home beach alt leftie local news and this Florida condo essay you posted fits dead-on right in the middle of it. Same slacking corrupt city government ignoring the problems until it’s too late. As a kid I watched this pier get built right in the first Sunset Cliffs point break, an incredibly big left surf spot, and yes I commented twice talking with Geoff on what I saw while surfing it in the ’80s. I just sent your link to the comments page for others to read because it is so spot-on to what they are dealing with down there..

      https://obrag.org/2021/05/the-city-fiddled-while-the-ocean-beach-pier-crumbled-a-classic-story-of-neglect/

      sealintheSelkirks

      Liked by 1 person

  1. Absolutely no surprise except why did it take so long? I was cancelled as soon as my fiscal year ended after the Camp Fire that took out Paradise California which is two states and 800 miles south!

    So you saying “I told you so” is completely appropriate by the way!

    Hell, I’ve been in the same boat for…what, this is the third fire season of zero insurance for my house and sew shop? And I was in Evac II last Tuesday filling totes and boxes into the old 4Runner with a 15 minute limit to be ready to leave with the 3rd damned fire (2nd deliberately set) in ten days directly upwind to the south down the ridge as twin-engine ‘scoop’ fire bombers blew over my house at tree-top level after they hopped up over the 100 foot conifers on the south end of the property dropping their right wingtips at the ground to make the sharp turn east up the creek canyon behind me and back to Loon Lake for another refill. These planes were freaking close! Old school barnstorming flyers no doubt. I was clearly seeing the pilots’ faces in the cockpits as they tilted their planes for the turn right in front of my 2nd story window.

    This winery guy’s comment of changing the game for him is wildly understated. There are literally millions of people like me (living low income with no other resources) in the same boat. Two very poor worker families in the 3rd fire burned out; single wide trailer homes in the path went poof with maybe 5 minutes warning. So far I don’t think anybody died but I don’t know for sure. There’s been DNR crews down there all week.

    Yesterday was 19 days in a row of 100’F/38C or higher temperatures. I have no idea what it will be today but yesterday was 106’F and the day before was 107’F.

    First 90’F/32C was May 17th. It hasn’t dropped below that since…looking at the calendar…June 18th. And the hottest part of the summer is yet to come? REALLY? WTF next is not a question I want answered because, well, you know!
    ___

    By the way, my email is broken as the program will not load and hasn’t since Thursday 8July night. I have no idea why and neither does my web guy who had no problem getting into it. I borrowed my retired biologist’s computer yesterday and had no problem with it there, either, so it’s some program thing on this old computer or a dial-up server problem. They don’t like fixing any of their own problems without me forking over cash for them to ‘look’ instead of just fixing their own programming problems. I’d swear that it’s a money-skimming scam based on the last time there was a problem and how I was treated….oh wait isn’t that Capitalism at its finest?

    So I’m missing some of your latest postings because I can’t read my email to see what you’ve thrown up recently!

    Serious fire haze from either or both of the Canadian blazes from the north and Wenachee from out west. Lurid red/orange sunsets and one knows there is small particulate matter blowing in the wind…but there are no N95 masks for sale that are available for the peons this fire season. Going to be an uptick in deaths and disease due to that not just the new mutated Covid Delta and Gamma variants…

    It’s all a matter of luck at this point, isn’t it?

    sealintheSelkirks

    Liked by 1 person

  2. Kevin Hester says:

    The clock is ticking on the entire industry

    Like

  3. Ahahahahahaha. What a sick joke it all is, eh Kevin? We are such a funny species!

    It’s never been about ‘insuring people against disaster’ like it’s some public service or something. Why does anyone think the owners of those mega-companies care?

    And when will those corporations completely abandon the state, and the entire Deep South for that matter? When it is no longer profitable of course!

    And abandon the West Coast fire zones. And abandon the Midwest flood & drought zones. And abandon the East Coast hurricane and sea level rise, and the Gulf Coast. Just how long before insurance go completely out of business because there won’t be a single area of the country that is ‘safe’ from climate collapse? Sure seems to be going full speed ahead, doesn’t it?
    ____

    I love the term ‘skittish’ used in this article. How…droll! Hell, I’m feeling a bit skittish today because the temperatures have been under 100F/38C for two whole days! 94’F yesterday and 96’F the day before. Wow, is this the start of winter already?

    Of course before that I’ve got twenty-one days (21!) in a row above that number on my calendar! Three entire weeks and it’s not even the hot months yet. Oops.

    Then there is the fact that I’m only going outside about 3pm to check the thermometer and it usually gets hotter between 3 & 5pm. I don’t care, once is enough per afternoon as I just can’t handle being outside in this. I did clean out and fill the old broke-down little hot tub with well water and have been using it to cool core temperatures during the day. It functions quite good being well-insulated to keep heat in. Anything that works, eh?

    But hey, at least I’m not having to pay monthly homeowner/fire insurance that I could barely afford anyway as it kept going up every single year like property tax. I’ve found out that I have been joined by more of my neighbors since they cannot afford the ‘new rates’ that have been imposed by the fly-by-night little insurance companies that popped up to grab when the big boys cancelled all of us.

    What an exciting time to be alive, eh Kevin? Guess it’s time I get out there and “rake the forest’ like Trump said last year. With a nice clean raked forest I won’t have to worry about wildfires, eh?

    sealintheSelkirks

    Liked by 1 person

  4. Kevin Hester says:

    “Natural disasters tend to be more costly for insurers in richer countries where businesses and citizens are more likely to be insured.”
    That’s an interesting angle.
    The only people affected by the unfolding collapse of the insurance industry are effectively the wealthy, poor people could never afford it.

    https://www.theguardian.com/business/2021/jul/21/2021s-extreme-weather-leads-to-insurers-biggest-payout-in-10-years?fbclid=IwAR2IV9LUlhCHg1iMVohIAwPDjfT3OZUVzqG_4e3iwDyIEOyRavaWzc561OU

    Like

  5. Yeah, well, that goes for me, too! I will never be able to afford what a few of the risk taker little insurance firms are charging around here (not a single major company of course!) so when they fail it really won’t matter much to me. No mortgage owned by a bank which has unknown repercussions to those that do!

    I also don’t have any kind of health ‘insurance’ for that matter as the industry lobbyist-written ObamaCare was just another joke’s-on-us insurance monopoly scam signed into law to enrich the wealthy. But Obama was a perfect substitute for Wbush! Just another neoliberal corporate right winger…and I never could afford that, either!

    But I will be affected because what happens when these companies crash as hard as that Florida condo a couple of weeks ago and nobody can get gov-required car insurance? With zero public transportation around here it is drive or starve…and cops just love to give out tickets! After all, their main job is to pull in revenue for the county or state not fighting ‘crime’ or they’d be all over the wealthy one would think…
    ____

    Watched another fire erupt on Wednesday about 6-10 miles s/sw of me. Sky went even more hazy (we’ve been in hazardous air quality for a while) and when I walked out to the road a hundred meters south from my gate where the trees were butchered off and the ridge drops off down towards the valley below there was a huge column of smoke looking like a volcano erupting behind the Huckleberry Range ridgeline. It was so big that my neighbor and I thought it was at most 6 miles away. It went from 200 acres Thursday morning to 400 acres by noon.

    I don’t know how big it is today but the main plume is visible out my south-facing window going west to east because I can literally see the stream of darker smoke in the blanket of fire haze already present. Wind shifted again. It’s been breezy from NW and from SW. Back and forth. Wind is fire’s 2nd best friend.

    The moon last night was a beautiful shade of gruesomely red ocher. You can imagine the sunsets. I don’t go outside without an N95 mask on as my eyes have been gritty full-of-sand for days and days. I certainly don’t want pm 2.5 in my lungs!

    After nearly 18 months of covid and last year’s fire smoke I’m down to 19 N95 dust mask types left and two N95 respirator valve style. I had a couple of huge boxes from a storage unit auction of a construction firm a few years ago that I unloaded for the 2nd hand store and got first pick on some items like that… Sure has come in handy since there are no real (ie: high quality) N95 masks available in this country. Except for medical staff. And politicians. And cops. And prison guards. And Federal cops like ICE, FBI, DEA, ATF etc etc.

    Screw the rest of us, eh?

    One can find cheap black market knock-off copies from China or those nearly useless KN95 ones that don’t fit your face! I’ve got a couple of those but maybe it’s my face they don’t fit? I’ve sewn up a few fabric masks with a slot in them that I can slip a cut piece from still-sealed large HEPA air filters that I have but I don’t know just how protective from covid or 2.5 particulate they will be. Better than nothing I guess, yes? Best to have some kind of plan!
    ____

    I guess it’s really burning huge in Oregon, two fires just combined into a monster. Cali is burning of course. And my state is burning. Canada is burning. Isn’t this exciting?

    sealintheSelkirks

    Liked by 1 person

  6. Kevin Hester says:

    Flood-hit German homes face higher premiums as climate risks grow;

    https://news.trust.org/item/20210723171212-doc4v/

    Like

  7. Interesting thought that came up in my head while reading this article; will other Germans (or anybody anywhere for that matter) be willing to pay a little more so that those people who can’t afford it will be covered by some kind of insurance?

    I don’t think so. There is a distinct lack of empathy for the ‘other’ in our species. Others of course being anyone and everyone that is not part of…your specific subset group. Or immediate family members. As this gets worse I expect to see far more of a narrowing down of just who even long-time neighbors will be willing to help. Much less people you don’t know at all. A huge disconnect there…

    Until of course your house burns down/washes away or whatever causes one to end up sitting on a pile of rubble with nothing and even your food and water stash is history. Then what does one do? As the neoliberal authoritarian governments run by wealthy sociopaths continue to be less and less likely to give a rat’s ass as we know that the campaign bribe money they grovel for means they’ll truly only be willing to ‘help’ those that funded their campaigns…

    In a world of hurt we are and that is obviously everywhere on the planet.

    Looking around the world as best I can on my limited dial-up internet at just how MUCH is going on is…daunting at best. I can’t keep straight in my head just how many on-going disasters are happening this year because they are piling up so fast everywhere, daily, and I can’t process them fast enough. All over the planet there are events that show that even the most ‘alarmist’ predictions were actually rather conservative. What will be the catastrophe(s) that push these corporations past their breaking point I wonder? After all it’s not really about ‘helping’ others it’s about wealth creation while seeming to help others. Everybody has a nasty ugly story about dealing with insurance companies…and they WILL pull out when there is no more money to be made. Just like they did a couple years ago around here.

    The insurance corporation’s house of cards built on Florida limestone while the ocean rises feels like probably sooner rather than later, doesn’t it? I’m…not exactly curious as to what will happen when mortgaged homes suddenly cannot be insured that the banks require but I’m sure it will be interesting if not tortured logic…
    ____

    Triple digits here starting tomorrow again supposedly. Back to over 38C again after a couple of days of ‘cooler’ weather which didn’t really feel all that cool. But 33C isn’t exactly chill, ya know? My old broken-down hot tub is full of well water but it is still so well insulated and on the northside of the house that it has kept the water far below what I can handle climbing into. I haven’t been able to sit in it below my waist because my body shocks too much! Core temps are brutal at this point but it’s definitely helping to just sit with my legs in it during the afternoon…

    sealintheSelkirks

    Liked by 1 person

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Kevin Hester

Kevin Hester is currently living on Rakino Island, a small island in the Hauraki Gulf near Auckland, New Zealand, monitoring the unravelling of the biosphere and volunteering at the Rakino Island Nursery is currently developing a proposal to create a marine reserve near by. The Island has no grid tied electricity or reticulated water.  I catch my own water from the roof and generate my electricity from the ample solar radiation on the island.

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