Earth Day

2012 was the warmest year on record in the Lower 48 states and the second most extreme weather year in U.S. history. This is not a coincidence. Extreme weather— stronger, more damaging storms, unprecedented drought and heat in some regions and unprecedented rainfall and flooding in others—are the predictable consequences of rising global temperatures. Eleven extreme weather events each caused at least a billion dollars in losses last year in the United States. A single event, Hurricane Sandy, caused more than $50 billion in economic losses. Insurance companies are on the hook for tens of billions of dollars in claims as a result of Sandy and other severe weather events. And American taxpayers are on the hook for tens of billions of dollars themselves, thanks to losses sustained by the National Flood Insurance Program as well as disaster relief spending. Wonder if this will impact YOU? Consider this: With rising sea levels and increasingly powerful storms, there are more Sandys in our future. In the United States alone more than 2.6 million homes are less than four feet above mean high tide. Hundreds of billions, perhaps trillions in taxable real estate lies less than three feet above average high tide. On the coasts, power plants, mass transit systems, wastewater treatment plants and airports sit at or near sea level. In short, the potential liability for insurers is astronomical.