Advance Notice: Briefs

U of M prof: Insurance cost hikes might convince people of global warming

By: - December 4, 2018 5:52 am

Lake Michigan | Susan J. Demas

For many people, climate science may not seem real until it hits their wallets, a University of Michigan professor says.

Insurance costs could be the key to reframing conversations about global warming to convince more Americans of its impending reality, according to Andrew Hoffman, an environment and sustainability professor at the U of M Ross School of Business and School of Environment and Sustainability.

Hoffman claims that insurance companies may even have a role to play in the public discussion on climate change, where scientists, activists and politicians have failed to convince large swaths of the American public — and many GOP politicians, including President Donald Trump — that rising global temperatures are linked to carbon emissions and could have disastrous future consequences for the environment, economy and even human life.

In 2017, the insurance industry paid out $135 billion for natural disasters, according to the Insurance Journal. That’s nearly three times higher than the annual average of $49 billion.

That’s not to mention the uninsured losses that were also incurred — uninsured losses from 2012’s Hurricane Sandy were 50 percent of the total $65 billion in losses, a staggering tab picked up by individual citizens and the taxpayer,” Hoffman wrote in a U of M blog.

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Michael Gerstein
Michael Gerstein

Michael Gerstein is a former Advance reporter covering the Governor's office, criminal justice and the environment.