The insurance industry’s refusal to acknowledge climate change may hurt the insurance industry in Southern Florida, says U.S. Sen. Bill Nelson. The Miami Herald reports Nelson convened a two-hour field hearing at Miami Beach City Hall on Tuesday to draw national attention to the dangers posed by rising seas in Miami. At the hearing, a half-dozen witnesses forecast a dire future with a three-foot rise in seas by the beginning of the next century, says the Herald.
Nelson, Florida’s former insurance commissioner, also tapped an insurance industry expert to address whether the 5.7 million South Florida residents living along the nation’s hurricane highway can expect coverage under increasingly waterlogged conditions, including regular flooding due to strong high tides. Megan Linkin, a natural hazards expert with Swiss re, says the insurance industry has not accepted that climate change has caused changing weather patterns, and no companies include the risk of climate change in determining insurance rates. She adds that rising sea levels will likely make some properties so vulnerable that they could not be insured at a reasonable rate.
Nelson acknowledged that the insurance industry has recognized the United Nations’ prediction from the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change that more serious storms will come, but complains that “myopic vision” had kept the industry from addressing the climate matters he started asking about 20 years ago when he was the state’s insurance commissioner, says the Herald. “The fact is there’s been five to eight inches [of sea rise] in the last century and they’re going to have to build it in” to models, Nelson says.