(Reuters) – The U.S. Treasury Department said on Tuesday it is proposing a new rule to collect data on climate-related risks from property/casualty insurers, one of the first concrete steps in a new effort to strengthen financial regulation to help fight global warming.
Treasury’s Federal Insurance Office said in a Federal Register notice that it was seeking public comment on the proposal, which would have it collect current and historical insurance data on homeowners insurance.
Postcode-level data would provide the insurer with “consistent, detailed and comparable insurance data needed to help assess the potential for major disruptions to private insurance coverage in regions of the country that are particularly vulnerable to the effects of climate change.”;
The move comes less than three weeks after Hurricane Ian devastated Fort Myers Beach and other parts of Florida’s southwest coast, causing billions of dollars in both uninsured and insured damage and forcing some insurers to anticipate financial losses.
US Treasury Secretary Janet Yellen has pushed US financial regulators to make assessing climate change risks a normal part of their everyday work, including requiring companies to increase disclosure of such risks to investors.
Treasury said the proposed data collection rule would help the Federal Insurance Office assess both the availability of insurance for millions of Americans and the affordability of such insurance.
“Today’s action by the Federal Insurance Office is an important step in determining how Americans are affected by the rising costs of climate change,” Yellen said in a statement. “The recent effects in Florida from Hurricane Ian demonstrate the critical nature of this work and the need for a greater understanding of the vulnerabilities of the insurance market in the United States.”