Climate change has become a hotter topic than ever before, thanks to the new political leadership in the United States. Despite the financial crisis, a growing number of political, financial and business leaders are calling for immediate action to drastically reduce global warming pollution. For the first time, fighting climate change is seen not just as a long-term imperative but also as a short-term stimulus for a struggling economy.
Insurers have more incentive than any other industry to catalyze global action on climate change. Though 2008 brought no Katrina-scale catastrophes, catastrophic losses to the economy were the third highest ever, exceeding $200 billion globally in 2008, including $40 billion in losses from Hurricanes Ike and Gustav in the U.S. alone, according to global insurer Munich Re.
Insurer activities go far beyond offering new products. This report documents the industry’s growing investments in businesses that are developing and offering low- and no-carbon technologies—specifically, a total of $11 billion in direct investments by 15 insurers, nearly double that observed in 2007.