The percentage of actuaries who view climate change as the top insurance risk, ahead of cyberthreats, terrorist attacks, and financial meltdowns, has rocketed upwards more than 200% in the last year, a recent industry survey concludes.
Published by the Joint Risk Management Section of the international Casualty Actuarial Society, together with two other professional associations, the survey asked 267 actuaries to rank their top emerging insurance risk for 2019. 22% of respondents cited climate change, compared to only 7% in 2018. Climate change was “also the top-ranked choice for combination risk, and tied with cyber/interconnectedness of infrastructure for top current risk,” reports Grist.
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The strong uptick in concern by the people who calculate insurance risk is good news for those seeking to build a more resilient and sustainable society, said Robert Erhardt, associate professor of statistics at Wake Forest University in North Carolina. He told Grist that actuaries play a central role in helping policy-makers avoid poor decisions, like “overbuilding in high-risk coastal flood zones.”Grist says the shift in actuaries’ attention to climate risk might have been driven in part by the timing of a survey conducted a few weeks after the IPCC released its landmark report on 1.5°C pathways. But its results also reflect the record US$118 billon insurers paid out in 2017, resulting from natural disasters which wreaked about $340 billion in damage around the world.
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