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The insurance company gets it

09 Jun 2021 | OP ED Watch

In the Financial Post Parker Gallant complains about rising insurance costs related to climate. To which the obvious retort is get with the program, buddy, you and your stinking CO2 are destabilizing the weather and wrecking your house and it serves you right. And indeed his insurance company more or less did tell him so, just more tactfully: “The increased cost of repairs and increased occurrence of severe weather and natural disasters in Ontario have affected your premium.” To which he retorted somewhat irritably that “Despite having been in my almost continuously locked-down province for the past year, I obviously missed all the ‘disasters’ and the ‘occurrence of severe weather’ the letter alluded to.” As did his insurance company, which reported solid financial results partly because (drum roll please) “Insurance claims were down 34 per cent YoY (year-over-year) and down 43 per cent QoQ (quarter-over-quarter).” So it turns out it was climate alarmism was pushing up premiums, not climate change.

His insurer is owned by a big bank, and they are an easy target for reasons that include their conduct. As he also notes sardonically, the bank “itself had sent a notice it was increasing some banking charges on my account. The price went up for all the services I obtain from them but there was no change in what they pay in interest for funds I might occasionally have on deposit.” Odd. But let us not get distracted.

As we noted in our video on climate and insurance, there has indeed been a significant increase in claims due to weather over past decades. But the reason, once inflation is accounted for, is that there are more people who own more stuff that is more valuable and occupies more space. So any storm that comes along is going to do more damage because the targets have increased in size, physical and financial. It’s not proof that the storms are getting worse.

Nor is anything else. Not even the IPCC says they are. But the final point to be made here is that insurers have a dog in the fight. Just as you are advised not to ask your barber if you need a haircut or your vet whether your dog looks sick, you should not ask your insurer if you really should increase your coverage in case there’s more flooding, more fires, a Martian invasion or something. And if they can convince customers and regulators that climate change is increasing risk, and collect more without having to pay out more, there is every probability that they will do so.

Woke corporations are not setting self-interest aside. Quite the contrary.

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