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Treasury Department Takes First Step to Evaluate Climate Crisis in Insurance Markets

WASHINGTON, D.C. The U.S. Department of the Treasury today proposed a plan to collect data on the impact of the climate crisis on insurance markets. The Treasury’s Federal Insurance Office (FIO) proposed collecting zip code level data from large property and casualty insurers to evaluate the impact on affordability and availability of insurance in climate vulnerable areas. 

The proposed data collection comes in the wake of crises in vulnerable markets like Florida, where more than 400,000 consumers have recently lost their private market insurance, and Louisiana, where premiums are set to rise by 63% for consumers relying on the state’s insurer of last resort.

Yevgeny Shrago, policy director with Public Citizen’s Climate Program, issued the following statement: 

“It’s about time for the federal government to recognize that climate change is driving a crisis in insurance markets. Congress created FIO to monitor availability and affordability of insurance, and gave it the power to collect data to carry out this function. Consumers at risk from hurricanes and wildfires increasingly struggle to afford homeowners’ insurance – when they can get it at all. State insurers of last resort are overburdened and unable to pick up the slack. Without a national evaluation of climate impact, regulators and consumers are still in the dark on the full extent of the risk.

“The devastation from Hurricane Ian has shone a spotlight on major cracks in coastal insurance markets, and regulators can’t wait for disaster to strike again before recognizing the risks. We look forward to working with FIO on capturing the data needed to pave the way for state and federal regulators to address this crisis.”