State officials want to make sure the insurance industry is prepared to protect ratepayers from the worsening impacts of climate change.
Delaware’s Department of Insurance is helping conduct a national survey of the risk climate change poses to the insurance industry.
More than 80 Delaware insurers that reported at least $100 million in premiums last year are asked to describe how they identify, assess, and reduce climate-related risks—including to their investment portfolios.
Other states have conducted the survey since 2010, but this year is Delaware’s first time participating.
Chrisina Haas, senior advisor to Delaware’s Insurance Commissioner, says the Department hopes to learn whether insurers are prepared to cover policyholders for what could be greater losses.
“Thankfully, many Delaware consumers still have access to the insurance products they need,” she said. “But certainly we always encourage preparation. Not just when you hear from the Weather Service that a storm is coming our way. And we’re hopeful that our insurers will help to guide the conversation.”
Haas adds her Department also hopes that simply surveying insurers will increase their climate awareness. The state is reaching out to a variety of types of insurers— including auto, health and life.
“It’s easy in the lowest-lying state to immediately think about a flood as your biggest concern,” Haas said. “But certainly we have a robust crop insurance industry in the agricultural areas of our state. And we’re also experiencing heat waves. … Late last month we saw smokey skies over here from West Coast fires. So it’s going to assess things in a really comprehensive way.”
Responses are due at the end of this month. Delaware’s survey data will be compiled with that of other states — and Haas says the results could end up informing state policy or legislation.