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Expect a slow, gradual acceptance of climate change, even in the most die-hard circles.

Why?  Because one of the most powerful and successful sectors of the economy, the FIRE sector is losing money.

FIRE stands for Finance, Insurance and Real Estate.  The "Insurance" part of that sector pays for damages due to weather related events, including catastrophies.  

For some, bizarre reason, those costs are skyrocketing.  And the insurance industry is being forced to notice it as their bottom line is being affected.

Climate Change: Insurers Confirm Growing Risks, Costs
More below the OC (orange caligraphy)...

If you have climate denier friends and would like to see some heads explode, simply begin sending them articles like this:

Stakeholders from the insurance industry met with members of the U.S. Senate to acknowledge the role global warming plays in extreme weather-related losses, and to issue a call for action.
http://www.insurancenetworking.com/...

What's even better is that this is not some left-wing, save-the-environment, tree-hugging website.  It's a strait-laced insurance industry trade publication.

The article quotes some radical enviro-activists like Frank Nutter, President of the Reinsurance Association of America as saying:

“From our industry’s perspective, the footprints of climate change are around us and the trend of increasing damage to property and threat to lives is clear,”
...and other radicals, like Cynthia Hale, Program Director at Ceres:
“Our climate is changing, human activity is helping to drive the change, and the costs of these extreme weather events are going to keep ballooning unless we break through our political paralysis, and bring down emissions that are warming our planet.
and this extreme Lefty:
“Extreme weather is a threat today and a greater threat tomorrow,” said Pete Thomas, chief risk officer at Willis Re,
When the insurance sector speaks, other sectors listen.

Now, unfortunately, that doesn't mean that the "debate" is over, nor will it lead to a sea-change in how we're dealing with it.

What this does mean is that the deniers will have to start arguing with corporations instead of environmentalists...and you know how corporations view and treat those that don't agree with their findings...

So, if you're worried about the deniers gaining strength..."let not your heart be troubled"....heh.

Originally posted to splintersawry on Fri Apr 20, 2012 at 01:36 PM PDT.

Also republished by Team DFH.

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Comment Preferences

  •  The deniers are going to need a new CT to explain (0+ / 0-)

    this.

    It will not help.  It's out of their hands now that the job creators believe it.

    •  Well...just tweak the CT narrative a little bit (0+ / 0-)

      and make it about international bankers forcing these reinsurance puppets to do their bidding who in turn force the American banks, energy and insurance sectors to knuckle under to their ecological greenmail agenda, surrendering power to control our uniquely American destiny to 'them'.  When in doubt just set up another scary bogeyman at the top of the hierarchy of Great Hidden Evil Undermining our Future and Profiting From Our Pain, and always operating in the dark, adding another layer to the CT, turn up the heat to 'frenzy' and stir. Best of all it seems even more believable to these true believers than before.

      Having worked in the industry as well as having my own set of wingnut relatives and business acquaintances, it's hard to imagine them interpreting businesses embracing climate change as anything but confirmation of some greater conspiracy.  I can't wait for the House Republicans to come out swinging on this one--they have their election year flocks of fearful to maintain and try to keep in check their huddled herds.  Having to suck it in and 'accept' Romney as 'their' candidate plus dealing with this sort of news will be hard rocks for their teeth to chew.  I'd expect more religious/political distractions to try and bury this sort of news.

      When life gives you wingnuts, make wingnut butter!

      by antirove on Fri Apr 20, 2012 at 10:06:31 PM PDT

      [ Parent ]

  •  These aren't actually insurance companies. (1+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    Lujane

    Not your fault, the original article you linked has a misleading headline.

    Representatives from The Reinsurance Association of America, Swiss Re and Willis Re and Ceres, a nonprofit organization that leads a national coalition of investors, environmental organizations and other public interest groups working with companies to address a variety of sustainability challenges
    The RAA does not represent insurance companies, they represent reinsurers:
    Reinsurance is best thought of as "insurance for insurance companies," a way for a primary insurer to protect against unforeseen or extraordinary losses. Reinsurance serves to limit liability on specific risks, to increase individual insurers' capacity, to share liability when losses overwhelm the primary insurer's resources, and to help insurers stabilize their business in the face of the wide swings in profit and loss margins inherent in the insurance business. For example, reinsurance plays a critically necessary, though behind-the-scenes, role in the financial management of natural disaster losses.
    •  Reinsurers are insurance companies. (3+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      grover, antirove, Lujane

      They pay "excess" losses when insurance companies have to pay out for catastrophies.

      I'm in the industry.

      They are even more influential than standard insurers because they insure the insurers, and charge them based on catastrophe related losses in the industry.

      I've been in the insurance industry for 25 years.

      •  I was typing while you were posting. (1+ / 0-)
        Recommended by:
        splintersawry

        Yeah, that comment threw me too.

        © grover


        So if you get hit by a bus tonight, would you be satisfied with how you spent today, your last day on earth? Live like tomorrow is never guaranteed, because it's not. -- Me.

        by grover on Fri Apr 20, 2012 at 02:58:32 PM PDT

        [ Parent ]

    •  Reinsurance IS insurance. (3+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      splintersawry, antirove, Youffraita

      I'm not sure why you think it's not.

      If Mr and Mrs Smith buy insurance from Allstate to insure them against a hurricane, or Allstate buys reinsurance from a reinsurer to help it cover widespread damage from a major hurricane, it's still insurance.

      RAA speaks for the industry on this topic. The insurance industry has been discussing this topic for YEARS:

      Climate Change No. 1 in Top 10 Risks Facing the Insurance Industry

      March 12, 2008

      Potential climate change is the greatest strategic risk currently facing the property/casualty insurance industry, with demographic changes taking priority for the life insurance industry, according to a new study by Ernst & Young.

      Climate change is closely followed by demographic change and catastrophic events among the top 10 risks for insurers.

      According to the Ernst & Young study, “Strategic Business Risk 2008,” the top 10 risks are:

      1. Climate change: long-term, far-reaching and with significant impact on the industry

      http://www.insurancejournal.com/...

      This May 2009 (PDF)  report "The Insurance Industry and Climate Change -- Contribution to the Global Debate" from the Geneva Association is locked, so I can't copy any salient sections. But look through it.

      Who is Geneva Association?

      The Geneva Association is the leading international insurance think tank for strategically important insurance and risk management issues.

      The Geneva Association identifies fundamental trends and strategic issues where insurance plays a substantial role or which influence the insurance sector. Through the development of research programmes, regular publications and the organisation of international meetings, The Geneva Association serves as a catalyst for progress in the understanding of risk and insurance matters and acts as an information creator and disseminator. It is the leading voice of the largest insurance groups worldwide in the dialogue with international institutions.

      http://www.genevaassociation.org/

      Do a google search on the topic. The results go on and on for pages....

      You'll be astounded how the industry has been squawking about this issue. It's the probably the one issue that the insurance industry can't get ANY traction on with the GOP.

      © grover


      So if you get hit by a bus tonight, would you be satisfied with how you spent today, your last day on earth? Live like tomorrow is never guaranteed, because it's not. -- Me.

      by grover on Fri Apr 20, 2012 at 02:56:14 PM PDT

      [ Parent ]

      •  Correct. Insurance doesn't get much press, but (3+ / 0-)
        Recommended by:
        JonBarleycorn, antirove, Lujane

        it's extemely influential in the business world.

        The deniers will eventually be viewed, even by their so called "job creators", along the same lines as Truthers and Birthers.

        I don't waste time trying to argue with them.  I actually believe a lot of them see it, but are too embarrased to admit how wrong "their side" was.

        •  I am thinking, based on (0+ / 0-)

          what I've seen over the past, oh, well, 20 years or so, that the GOP never met an insurance company it didn't want to hand money to.

          I always figured the insurers bought them.

          So this is kinda optimistic news, isn't it?  The reinsurers and the original insurers now have to lobby Congress and their GOP friends to stop global warming.

          And we know the insurers have the lobbying money.  They use it all the time.  All they need to do now is use it for ads against the deniers and for the ones who want to end global warming.

          It is true the oil companies have even MORE money.  But I can imagine an ad battle:

          "Gas for your car will go up if this is enacted."

          "You will receive no compensation when the tornado destroys your town b/c of global warming, b/c your insurer will have gone bankrupt.  Vote Green.

          or some variation on that theme.

          I call him Rick Scumtorum because he IS scum: pond scum, with the brain of an alga.

          by Youffraita on Fri Apr 20, 2012 at 11:54:13 PM PDT

          [ Parent ]

          •  I think energy companies will win this debate-- (1+ / 0-)
            Recommended by:
            Youffraita

            Heck, there wont even be a debate-- because the meme that  nature is there to exploit is just too entrenched.

            A lot of damage happens because of really stupid things humans do that despoil the earth, for example overdevelopment worsened the impact of Huuricane Katrina. Insurers have known this for decades. But the GOP thinks risk management is something to be scoffed at.

            Didn't Sarah Palin like to boast about being mistress of her terrain, as she gave permission to corporations to use and extract from Alaska at will?

            © grover


            So if you get hit by a bus tonight, would you be satisfied with how you spent today, your last day on earth? Live like tomorrow is never guaranteed, because it's not. -- Me.

            by grover on Sat Apr 21, 2012 at 09:36:20 AM PDT

            [ Parent ]

            •  Sure, grover (1+ / 0-)
              Recommended by:
              grover

              My argument is, when the insurers stop giving money to the idiots and start supporting the greens...

              Well, okay, that won't be the END of the battle, but it will be a change of tide.

              But the insurance industry needs to act in lockstep, and it needs the best ad agencies it can get to represent it (for the public) and the best lobbyists it can get (to counteract Big Oil's influence).

              That would at least be a start, right?

              I call him Rick Scumtorum because he IS scum: pond scum, with the brain of an alga.

              by Youffraita on Sun Apr 22, 2012 at 12:32:37 AM PDT

              [ Parent ]

  •  It's been a long while (2+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    splintersawry, Youffraita

    since I followed insurance matters -- but I do remember seeing a blurb in Business Insurance back in the mid 1990s about a discussion of wanting to charge the petrochemical companies more for insurance because the insurance industry felt the burning of fossil fuels was responsible for an increase in severe weather events.  If memory serves, it must have been around '95 or '96 that I saw this.

    This discussion goes back a long time...

    The Community Quilt Project now has a website! And so do the Pootie Pads -- everypootie needs a Pootie Pad!

    by Sara R on Fri Apr 20, 2012 at 03:29:59 PM PDT

  •  As a former insurance company employee, I can (3+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    maryabein, victoria2dc, splintersawry

    vouch for the industry's incredibly conservative mindset - they are true dinosaurs politically.  Since their bottom line is already impacted by global warming, they have been forced to replace their ideology with reality.

    There is only one planet suitable for human habitation in our solar system.

    by too many people on Fri Apr 20, 2012 at 04:30:11 PM PDT

  •  The train (0+ / 0-)

    is leaving the station folks. Reality says that we all must get a grip and get past this argument over details of what is or isn't not causing global climatic changes.  Along with that thought is this one,  it does not help for us to be quibbling over details such as whether reisurers are insurance companies or not.  Let others handle that debate.  

    We need to move past arguing over what the details are or are not.  We need to devise a plan for survival in this new global environment.  How do we not die when we have F-5 Tornado's in California.

    How do we continue to grow food in the plains from Texas  to North Dakota when the last rain they got was 10 years ago.  

    Where are we going to move people to when Miami goes 15 feet underwater?  

    We need to get past the theoretical and get down to the nitty gritty of real world planning and doing.

    Life is not a problem to be solved but an adventure to be experienced.

    by DarkHawk98 on Sat Apr 21, 2012 at 01:41:21 PM PDT

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