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Treasury Department Takes Important Step to Assess Climate Crisis Impacts on Insurance

As Treasury’s Federal Insurance Office finalizes call for data, public access would benefit consumers and policy makers

WASHINGTON, D.C. – The Department of Treasury’s Federal Insurance Office (FIO) today finalized the office’s proposed Climate-Related Financial Risk Data Collection, sending the proposal to the Office of Management and Budget for review. There will be a 30-day comment period on the final proposal. In response, Carly Fabian, insurance policy advocate with Public Citizen’s Climate Program, issued the following statement: 

“The Treasury Department’s call for data from insurance companies is a major step toward understanding and responding to an unfolding crisis. It is also the first time FIO has used its authority under the Dodd-Frank Act to collect data directly from insurers and the office should move forward quickly to make as much information available as possible.

“Climate-driven severe weather—including fires, floods, hurricanes, and drought—has wreaked havoc in insurance markets across the country. Yet, while insurance companies go bankrupt or flee markets, a dearth of data has left consumers, researchers, advocates, and governments without a clear understanding of how the crisis is unfolding. The absence of key information doesn’t just make it harder to solve the insurance crisis. It also makes it more difficult to safeguard the financial system and broader economy from spillover effects from the chaos in insurance markets.

“Although insurers paint themselves as victims of climate change, they are a big cause of this crisis, through their massive fossil fuel investments and underwriting. They should not be permitted to make the rest of us pay for their recklessness. The industry’s opposition to something as basic as data collection has been disheartening and it will not be helpful in solving this growing crisis. The speed, scale, and severity of climate change necessitates a comprehensive, national data collection, and Congress empowered the Federal Insurance Office for exactly this purpose.”

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