California Commissioner and U.N. to Develop Sustainable Insurance Roadmap

July 23, 2019

The California Department of Insurance and the United Nations Environment Program on Tuesday announced the launch of a yearlong effort to develop a “Sustainable Insurance Roadmap” to confront California’s climate risks.

Insurance Commissioner Ricardo Lara and Butch Bacani, who leads U.N. Environment’s Principles for Sustainable Insurance, a collaboration between the U.N. and the insurance industry, announced the initiative at a roundtable co-hosted with the UCLA School of Law and UC Berkeley School of Law.

This is reportedly the first time the U.N. has partnered with an American state to create a sustainable insurance strategy and action plan that would tackle the growing risks of climate change.

“We have a historic opportunity to utilize insurance markets to protect Californians from the threat of climate change, including rising sea levels, extreme heat and wildfires,” Lara said in a statement. “Working with the United Nations, we can keep California at the forefront of reducing risks while promoting sustainable investments.”

The California Sustainable Insurance Roadmap is envisioned as a way to encourage innovative risk management, insurance and investment solutions that reduce climate risks and protect natural ecosystems.

One example offered was that new insurance products could be developed to promote cooler streets and renewable energy, while insurance solutions for California’s protective, life-supporting natural infrastructure—such as wetlands and forests—could reduce climate and disaster risk and present new opportunities.

The California Department of Insurance and U.N. Environment’s PSI Initiative will engage insurers and reinsurers, public policy leaders, environmental NGOs, researchers, and risk management experts.

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