Climate Change a Major Issue for Home Insurers

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  • The home insurance industry is likely still dealing with the fallout from a number of major storms that have hit the U.S. in the last few years. Unfortunately, experts say that the frequency and severity of such weather events is only likely to increase over time. As such, the idea of global climate change is one that these policy providers should consider very seriously both now and in the future. Meanwhile, insurance agents should also take the time to discuss the impact of climate change with their clients, as well as the ways in which this might change their policy status going forward.

    In recent years, insurers have begun to alter how they assess risk based on climate change trends, according to a report from the consumer financial advice site Nerdwallet. Many are trying to take into account growing risk, particularly in areas where lots of people live relatively close to the ocean, which are more likely to be hit by hurricanes and blizzards.

    “We’re all, to some extent, at risk,” Steven Leibo, professor of modern international history and politics at the Sage Colleges in Albany, New York, told the site. “There are places that are less obviously at risk, but we’re still living in a globalized economy. Insurance is built on the idea that everything can be predicted. This is how they figure out what a premium should be. And the odds have to be on the side of the insurance company. They have to take in more from people who don’t have a problem than people that do.”

    What’s being done?
    Unfortunately for some insurers, these risks mean simply no longer insuring people in certain markets, the report said. Others are significantly raising premiums, to the extent that many homeowners are facing difficulties in covering those costs.

    However, the more insurance agents can do to help their clients understand growing or changing risk surrounding their policies, the better off they’re likely to be in terms of keeping those people happy with their coverage. Data shows that people tend to place a higher priority on having good, open lines of communication with their agents than even being able to save a little bit of money with the occasional discounts, so these kinds of talks could go a long way toward shoring up customer satisfaction and client retention rates.