While politicians and the public debate whether global warming is real or not, the insurance industry has already made up their mind. Insurers are canceling policies or jacking up premiums to policyholders who are insuring properties in high risk areas. Up and down the Eastern Seaboard, hundreds of thousands of policyholders are being dropped by their insurers; many more have had to swallow double-, even triple-digit increases in premiums and deductibles.
While scientists cannot determine whether a single weather event is caused by a natural cycle, or is evidence of more permanent, malignant climate change, the pattern of mounting losses is clear. Weather-related catastrophe losses have increased from about $1 billion a year in the 1970s to an average of $17 billion a year over the past decade. In 2005, the year of Katrina, that figure reached $71 billion.
Yes, the insurers are making healthy profits but that is only because they reacting to mounting claims by re-evaluating risk and doing proper underwriting. These numbers do suggest our weather is changing.