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Connecticut bill calls for regulation of insurers’ climate risks

Connecticut capitol

The Connecticut General Assembly Thursday passed a bill implementing the state budget, including a provision that requires the state insurance regulator to address the climate-related risks of insurers.

The legislation would impact Connecticut-based insurers such as Travelers Cos. Inc., The Hartford Financial Services Group, and W.R. Berkley Corp.

Under Section 346 of SB 1202, the Connecticut Insurance Commissioner would be required to incorporate emissions reduction targets into its supervision and regulation of Connecticut insurers.

This includes addressing the impacts of thermal coal, tar sands and Arctic oil and gas, and taking regulatory and supervisory actions to bolster the resilience of insurers to the physical impacts of climate change.

The legislation requires the insurance commissioner to submit a report to the joint standing committee of the General Assembly not later than April 1, 2022, disclosing its progress toward addressing climate risks.

The report must include its progress in integrating such risks into risk-based capital requirements, regular supervisory examinations, and risk and solvency assessments.

Eric George, president of the Insurance Association of Connecticut said, “We are happy to have worked with the legislature to shape legislation that allows the Department of Insurance to continue their strong work of monitoring financial solvency with a focus on prospective risks, including climate and weather volatility. This work will keep our industry strong for all policyholders as we face the unpredictability and uncertainty of the effects of future climate trends.” 

The legislation is an “important first step … making sure the state’s Department of Insurance supervises the climate risks that insurers are creating with their business decisions,” Tom Swan, executive director of Connecticut Citizens’ Action Group, said in a statement.

Section 346 incorporates provisions of SB 1047, a bill sponsored by Connecticut Senator Matt L. Lesser, chair of the Insurance Committee and Real Estate Committee.

The bill next goes to the governor.