How Climate Change May Impact Your Life Insurance Policy

| 4/10/2019 12:00:00 PM

Purchasing life insurance marks the soundest financial investment many make to provide their loved ones with the means to survive in the case of untimely death. It makes sense — even while we mourn, landlords and utility companies still demand payment if we hope to keep a roof over our heads and power our appliances. However, few among us give pause to consider how climate change may impact the monthly amount we pay to keep our families safe.

Recent increases in the severity of wildfires and hurricanes serve as an exclamation point that human beings need to change their polluting ways or risk extinction. However, despite the warnings of scientists, relatively few insurers have diversified their investment portfolios to include more renewable and sustainable business practices. The result may mean passing on rising costs to consumers.


Bigger National Disasters Lead to Greater Mortality Rates

In recent years, the U.S. has experienced an increased number of hurricanes of Category three or higher. Hurricane Maria, which decimated Puerto Rico and parts of Florida in 2017, claimed anywhere from a few hundred to thousands of lives. Nor was Maria the only deadly storm to batter the east coast of the nation of late — Hurricanes Harvey and Irma likewise claimed dozens of lives while causing billions of dollars in damage.

In the west, a rampage of wildfires has caused death and destruction. The California wildfire season of 2018 proved the most deadly in recent memory. The city of Paradise, CA, will never return to its former grandeur as a retreat for wealthy celebrities and Silicon Valley bigwigs after the Camp Fire ravaged the city and claimed 85 or more human lives.

Should climate change continue unfettered, more severe natural disasters will arise. And this raises the hackles of actuary agents everywhere. Already in 2018, the life expectancy of U.S. citizens lagged behind that of other developed nations and earned the distinction of being the only industrialized nation where the average age of death fell below 80.

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