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ICYMI: Senate Banking Committee Details Major Impacts to Insurance from Climate Driven Disasters

In clips from hearing, homeowners face real hardship in riskiest areas

WASHINGTON – At today’s hearing of the U.S. Senate Committee on Banking, Housing, and Urban Affairs, senators took a deep dive into issues plaguing property insurance markets across the country and the way that current issues, including from climate change, will impact consumers. Below are highlights from today’s hearing. 

Highlights of the hearing include: 

Sen. Elizabeth Warren (D-Mass.) on insurers profiting from climate change while investing in fossil fuels (33 sec): In her closing to her questions, Sen. Warren nails the contradiction between an industry profiting from climate change while heavily investing in the very causes of the crisis and calls for increased access to industry data. (Timestamp: 1:36:55)

Sen. Van Hollen (D-Md.) looks toward a polluter pays fund, to alleviate potential taxpayer bailout of insurance (1:06): Burning fossil fuels and enabling the burning of fossil fuels is intensifying natural disasters. The emitters and investors need to start putting up their fair share to pay for the impacts these storms are having. Taxpayers can’t be left on the hook for this crisis. (Timestamp: 1:46:30)

Witness Douglas Heller questions why regulators haven’t seen insurance industry fraud as reasons to protect consumers (31 sec): In response to a question from Sen. Menendez (D-N.J.) Douglas Heller, director of insurance at the Consumer Federation of America questions why regulators haven’t had a heavier hand as insurance companies scam consumers. (Timestamp: 1:13:45)

Heller on utilizing industry data to reduce the risk to homeowners (29 sec): With more data on how climate change-fueled disasters impact structures, governments can improve building codes, reducing risk to homeowners and insurers alike. Heller’s response to Sen. Reed shows the importance of gathering the data from insurers to prepare for disaster. (D-R.I.) (1:02:10)

Heller on the downstream financial impacts of an insurance crisis (46 sec): As disasters devastate homeowners, some mortgage companies are requiring homeowners who lose their insurance to pay for expensive policies that primarily protect the mortgage company. The result: While homeowners paying for insurance could be devastated, banks continue to be covered from loss. (1:21:55)

Read Public Citizen’s statement on the hearing here. 

Memo: Insurers Support Fossil Fuels and Stick Public with the Risk

Carly Fabian, insurance policy advocate with Public Citizen’s Climate Program will be available for interviews this afternoon. Reply to this e-mail to set up an interview. 

Watch the full recording of the hearing here.