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Cost of climate risk insurance rising

LONDON: Each year the CDP, formerly the Carbon Disclosure Project, asks S&P 500 companies to assess the effects of climate change as a risk to their businesses.

THai floodsThis year the CDP sent a request for disclosure on behalf of 767 institutional investors with US$92 trillion in assets.

The result suggests an increasing number of companies are already experiencing the cost of climate change with 50 percent of respondents saying insured risk was either "more likely" or "virtually certain" to take place – up from 34 percent in 2011.

Some 45 percent thought the risk companies face from extreme weather and climate-changes is current, or expected to fall within the next 1-5 years, up from 26 percent just three years ago.

"Dealing with climate change is now a cost of doing business" says Tom Carnac, president of CDP North America. "Making investments in climate-change-related resilience planning both in their own operations and in the supply chain has become crucial for all corporations to manage this increasing risk."

The CDP cites the Gap experiencing higher material costs for cotton due to changes in precipitation and drought in China; the Dr. Pepper Snapple Group discussing how weather, climate changes and water availability is putting US$2.5 billion of its cost of sales at risk; Sempra Energy acknowledging it exceeded US$1.1 billion of liability insurance due to the cost of wildfires in San Diego; Union Pacific reporting an 11 percent decline in corn shipments affecting its freight revenue as a result of droughts in 2012; HP describing a seven percent decline in revenue following the 2011 floods in Thailand (above); and Consolidated Edison revealing that Superstorm Sandy in 2012 cost it over US$431 million.

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