Former U.S. Secretary of State Hillary Clinton called on Sunday for reform of the insurance sector, where companies are increasingly withdrawing assistance against climate shocks.
Lower-income countries and workers in nations most affected by climate change are struggling to access insurance to help protect them from economic shocks.
“We need to rethink the insurance industry,” Clinton said during a panel on women and climate resiliency. “Insurance companies are pulling out of so many places. They’re not insuring homes. They’re not insuring businesses.”
Clinton earlier this year joined the Arsht-Rock Foundation Resilience Center as a global ambassador on heat, health and gender. The center has pioneered new forms of so-called parametric insurance that offer payments once disasters hit a pre-set extreme.
During Sunday’s discussion, Clinton recalled meeting Indian women who described working outdoors in construction, farming or desert salt flats, forced to work in “almost unbearable conditions” because they had no economic alternatives.
But “as the climate changes, as storms increase and drought and heat increase,” she said, “it’s not just … poor, hard-working women in India. It’s people everywhere who are going to be left out with no backup, no insurance for their business or their home.”
In the U.S., insurers have already begun pulling back from risky regions such as California’s fire-prone forests or along southeast coastlines hit by hurricanes.
Clinton warned that this trend would escalate. “People in the United States, Europe, they’re going to wake up and say, ‘What do you mean, I can’t get insurance?'”
(Reporting by Valerie Volcovici and Elizabeth Piper; editing by Katy Daigle and Jan Harvey)
Photograph: Gan Bingdong stands in the basin of a community reservoir near his farm that ran nearly empty after its retaining wall started to leak and hot weather and drought conditions accelerated the loss of water, in Longquan village in southwestern China’s Chongqing Municipality, on Saturday, Aug. 20, 2022. (AP Photo/Mark Schiefelbein)
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