They urged the FIO to begin collecting insurance data on these vulnerable communities, including renters, consumers who rely on insurers, and climate-related perils such as wildfires and wind that are “increasingly excluded” from standard coverage. They also requested that this information should be published once it is properly collected.
Among the groups that signed the letter were Public Citizen, Americans for Financial Reform Education Fund, the Sierra Club, Greenpeace USA, the Hip Hop Caucus and the National Housing Resource Center.
“The insurance industry has been fueling the climate crisis for decades through investments and underwriting,” said Carly Fabian, policy advocate for Public Citizen’s Climate Project. “As the climate crisis intensifies, the industry is forcing the most vulnerable consumers to pay the price by raising premiums, reducing coverage, and abandoning entire communities.”
Fabian explained that the insurance industry’s “uncharacteristically opaque regulatory system” leaves consumers unaware of its “discriminatory practices” and its response to climate change. He said that since the FIO was created with the power to collect data from insurers, the data should be used to “highlight the national insurance affordability crisis”.
In addition to the letter, a petition urging the FIO to collect ZIP code-level data from property and casualty insurers has been signed by more than 9,000 people.
The petition specifically calls for transparency in current and historical underwriting of homeowners insurance.
“Access to insurance is essential to the financial and emotional security of me and my community,” the petition reads. “If insurance becomes unaffordable or unavailable in my community, this crisis threatens our homes, life savings and local economies. My community needs urgent solutions to address this growing crisis.”
Both the letter and the petition were written in response to the FIO’s proposal to collect data from insurers for evaluation. Climate risks Report estimates for potential major disruptions in the US and private insurance.