Trouble ahead, Businessman with umbrella standing in front of stormy clouds
© rangizzz / 123RF Stock Photo

Once recovered from the Covid-19 outbreak, the world must turn its attention to the next great public health threat: climate change.

So says a new report from insurance industry trade group, the Global Federation of Insurance Associations (GFIA).

In a position paper, the GFIA calls on global policymakers to tackle the risks posed by global warming.

“As the world recovers from a health and economic crisis, decision-makers must take measures to address the climate crisis,” it said.

The GFIA reported that weather-driven insurance events have tripled since the 1980s, and that severe events such as floods, heatwaves, and forest fires all pose risks to both physical and mental health.

“Climate change also presents a unique and long-term risk to public health,” the paper said, adding that this “is a global issue that must be jointly addressed by policymakers and all sectors of the economy.”

The insurance industry “plays a critical role in addressing climate risk” not only by managing the economic impacts but also through “identifying opportunities to enhance adaptation,” the paper said.

“Insurers across the world are already integrating climate risk into their risk modelling and are developing innovative solutions to enhance adaptation and mitigation,” it noted.

And, the paper suggested that insurers play a role in policy debates around designing adaptation and mitigation policies at the local, national and international levels.

The paper also advocated for open, global insurance markets as a way to help cover rising climate risks.

“By diversifying risks geographically through international reinsurance markets, insurers are able to cover local risks that may not be insurable locally,” it said.

Additionally, the paper suggested that insurers can help raise clients’ awareness of climate risks directly.

“Insurers are also committed to working closely with public authorities to improve public understanding of climate risks in order to foster more sustainable behaviour throughout societies as well as to steer adaptation and mitigation measures,” it said.