The NAIC formation of a task force to examine climate change comes on the heels of devastating back-to-back hurricane seasons that caused a record $30 billion in U.S. insured losses in 2004 and as much as $60 billion in insured losses from Hurricane Katrina alone in 2005. Insurance Networking News magazine recently interviewed Tim Wagner, director of the Nebraska Department of Insurance, who is co-leading the task force, to find out what the NAIC hopes to achieve.INN: Who at the NAIC became aware of the issue, and how was it pushed forward on the agenda?
TW: Several commissioners became aware of the issue. I became aware of the issue in January or February of 2005 at the commissioners annual conference when Jacques Dubois, who was then affiliated with Swiss Re, made a presentation. He presented some very interesting material about changes in climate patterns, particularly catastrophe risk as it affected the property/casualty business. Then in March, Evan Mills, a scientist with the U.S. Department of Energy's Lawrence Berkeley National Laboratory, made a similar presentation to the NAIC as part of a consumer-advocate panel. I ended up with the charge to investigate, and I arranged a symposium to take place at the NAIC's meeting in New Orleans. Interestingly, at the time, some of the maps I was seeing showed New Orleans under water.
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