‘Sticker shock.’ Connecticut insurers warn about rising climate change costs

Insurers warned Connecticut leaders about skyrocketing costs for property owners – if the state doesn’t take aggressive action to harden homes and infrastructure against climate change.

John Craven

Aug 4, 2023, 9:34 PM

Updated 354 days ago

Share:

Hartford is the “Insurance Capital of the World.” But on Friday, insurers warned Connecticut leaders about skyrocketing costs for property owners – if the state doesn’t take aggressive action to harden homes and infrastructure against climate change.
“STICKER SHOCK”
First came the drought, then the floods. This summer, Connecticut is experiencing weather whiplash.
“Last week, we had 11 and a half inches of rain, and yesterday – Saturday, and Sunday – we had 6 inches of rain,” Goshen’s Republican First Selectman Todd Carusillo told News 12 Connecticut on July 17.
And this could just be the beginning. During a roundtable at the state Capitol, insurance carriers issued a dire warning. Thanks to a perfect storm of climate change and inflation, severe weather damage will get a lot more expensive.
“If anybody's tried to do reconstruction on your house, you're probably in for a little bit of sticker shock,” said Eric Nelson, the senior vice president of risk management for Travelers Insurance. “There's an opportunity to bend this damage curve – to reduce, narrow the path of destruction – through mitigation.”
FIGHTING BACK
Insurers said the best defense is a good offense. They urged Connecticut to pass stricter building codes, since a growing number of people are moving to Shoreline areas. Insurance carriers also suggested offering residents vouchers or low-interest loans to harden their homes, including sealing their roof decks and replacing windows and walls.
“For every dollar we spend on natural hazard mitigation, we save $11 in disaster repair and recovery costs,” said Ross Fisher, The Hartford’s chief underwriting officer.
Premiums have soared in storm-prone states like Florida, But for now, property insurance rates are relatively low in Connecticut.
“But I want to look out 30 years and make sure that we stay in a very good position,” said Gov. Ned Lamont.
Many carriers will offer you a discount for upgrading your home to make it more storm-resistant. Click here for more details.
HELP FROM WASHINGTON
Connecticut is getting tens of millions of dollars from Washington for climate resiliency plans. State leaders asked the insurance industry to help identify the most impactful ways to spend it.
“We can use the time that we have now to make the right investments, to help better protect against these impacts,” said Connecticut Department of Energy and Environmental Protection Commissioner Katie Dykes.
It's a lesson many residents learned the hard way last month.
“I'm shocked at the damage,” said Goshen resident Ashley Blondin. “I can't believe how bad it really is here.”


More from News 12