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Insurance forecast changes with climate

Waves crash inland on the flooded shore of Lake Charles, Louisiana after Hurrican Rita in September 2005.

TEXT OF STORY

SCOTT JAGOW: Congress will hear from the insurance industry today about climate change. A House committee is looking at whether global warming will cause massive insurance losses. Nancy Marshall Genzer reports.


NANCY MARSHALL GENZER: The General Accounting Office says insurers have paid out more than $320 billion in weather-related claims since 1980. Some scientists blame that higher number on global warming, which they say is making storms worse.

Insurance Industry Analyst Andrew Logan says insurers can't base future predictions on patterns from the past, like they used to.

ANDREW LOGAN: They'd taken the last 100 years of trends and essentially tried to project into the future. With climate change, the future looked actually not at all like the past.

One thing's for sure: Insurers are raising prices — and sometimes refusing coverage.

Congressman Edward Markey, a Massachusetts Democrat, chairs the global warming committee.

EDWARD MARKEY: There are now countries that have insurance companies that are saying that they won't insure ski lodges for snow above a certain altitude.

More bad news is expected tomorrow when the U.N. releases a report on climate change.

In Washington, I'm Nancy Marshall Genzer for Marketplace.

About the author

Nancy Marshall-Genzer is a senior reporter for Marketplace based in Washington, D.C. covering daily news.
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