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Earth Focus

Paying for Climate Change: A Reinsurance Industry View

The reinsurance industry insures insurance companies to help reduce the risks associated with underwritten policies. Insurance rates have risen in areas with extreme weather events.

Frank Nutter, president of the Reinsurance Association of America, says climate change is a big factor for reinsurance and insurance companies.

"The consequences of climate change are quite real to our industry and it will have a significant impact on the economy going forward," he said.

From the underwriters' perspective, encouraging people to build on coastal areas, barrier islands, and other high-risk locations inevitably raises the risk level and the exposure of not only property values — including high value homes — but the cost of repair, and recovery of property and public infrastructure as well.

"The cost of climate change has to be factored in both in public and private insurance," Nutter said. Also of concern — wildfires exacerbated by climate change that expose more and more homes and businesses to losses covered by insurance of federal disaster assistance.

Nutter calls for a long-term investment in mitigating losses, better land use planning, better building codes, greater use of green infrastructure to protect properties, and a change in philosophy in government.

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Full Episodes
Season
P-22 | Earth Focus
Episode
24:28
Earth Focus

S1 E6: Urban Habitat

Los Angeles is one of the biggest biodiversity hotspots in the world, despite its smog, urban sprawl and snarling freeways.
A woman cleans her pen at a sea cucumber reserve in Madagascar. | Nicky Milne/Thomson Reuters Foundation
Episode
26:28
Earth Focus

S1 E5: Future of Food

Communities and innovators all over the world are creating new sustainable food sources that are resilient to climate change and growing populations.
Canal along agricultural field near Los Baños, California. | Carla Pineda
Episode
25:44
Earth Focus

S1 E4: Adaptation to Global Water Shortages

Anticipating future water needs, two regions on opposite sides of the world turn to technology for answers.
Aerial image of urban density in Freetown, Sierra Leone. | Nicky Milne/Thomson Reuters Foundation
Episode
25:26
Earth Focus

S1 E3: City Planning

Two cities, San Francisco and Freetown, brace for climate change using vastly different methodologies.
Aerial image of island off Louisiana coast. | Nicky Milne/Thomson Reuters Foundation
Episode
25:29
Earth Focus

S1 E1: Sea Level Rising - Living With Water

Forecasts are dire for Louisiana to experience the second-highest sea level rise in the world. How is the region adapting?
The border gate on the Tijuana, Mexico side of Friendship Park. | KCET
Episode
25:58
Earth Focus

S1 E2: Climate Migration

Droughts and floods are driving many people away from their rural, farming communities into big cities.
EARTH FOCUS “The Youth Climate Movement Around the World” features Alexandria Villaseñor from Paradise, California. Image courtesy of Thomson Reuters Foundation.
Episode
Earth Focus

S3 E1: The Youth Climate Movement Around the World

In-depth profiles of four young environmentalists: Alexandria Villaseñor in California, Carl Smith in Alaska, Ayakha Melithafa in South Africa and Litokne Kabua in the Marshall Islands.
A group of women in Zanzibar studies solar installation. | Nicky Milne/Thomson Reuters Foundation
Episode
26:30
Earth Focus

S2 E5: Lighting A Path - Embracing Solar Power In California and Zanzibar

Solar power is changing lives in unexpected places. This episode visits with unique solar power training programs in Zanzibar and Los Angeles.
A polar bear swimming in front of a tourist boat in Alaska. | Still from Earth Focus
Episode
25:52
Earth Focus

S2 E1: Fueling Change - Oil Extraction in Alaska and California

The global demand for oil and gas has long-lasting impacts on the communities that supply it.
brightcove-5782657773001.jpg
Episode
25:26
Earth Focus

City Planning (San Francisco & Freetown, Sierra Leone)

San Francisco's developers are building expensive real estate on floodplains, as officials try to heed expert future sea level projections. On the other side of the world, a deadly mudslide caused by torrential rains and deforestation in Sierra Leone shows the consequences of city planning that doesn't take climate change into account.
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