Date of Graduation

Spring 5-16-2014

Document Type

Project/Capstone

Degree Name

Master of Science in Environmental Management (MSEM)

First Advisor

Maggie Winslow

Abstract

The private insurance industry is susceptible to increasing risk from climate change and can serve as a catalyst to change behavior to minimize loss. The research examined the current impact and future potential of the insurance industry to reduce both physical and financial risk. The insurance industry currently raises awareness, assigns an economic value to risk, advocates for climate change action, and takes measures to reduce physical risk through mitigation. As well, the industry has proven to be a critical influencer to encourage risk-adverse behavior and regulation. Recommendations to the industry to have a greater impact include: 1) pursue more private/public partnerships, 2) make risk-prediction models more accurate and more accessible, 3) expand investments in green bonds and similar impact investments, and 4) increase disaster risk reduction services. These recommendations emphasize the importance of collaboration with non-profits organizations, governments, the scientific community, and industry peers. Private and public entities should continue to partner with and encourage the industry to pursue innovative solutions to reduce the financial and physical risks related to climate change.

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