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Last Updated: Tuesday, 8 June, 2004, 03:48 GMT 04:48 UK
Climate threat to home insurance
Greenhouse gas emissions
The government claims carbon dioxide emissions will be cut
The cost of house insurance could increase considerably because of global warming.

The Association of British Insurers says the value of claims may triple because of increased extreme weather.

The number of winter storms in the UK has doubled over the past 50 years and the 1990s were the warmest decade since records began.

The floods in autumn 2000 damaged 10,000 properties and led to claims of nearly 1bn.

Last summer the UK had its highest temperatures on record, boosting subsidence claims to nearly 400m.

The Association of British Insurers (ABI) says if nothing is done the current value of claims could double or even triple by the middle of the century.

Extreme weather

It wants climate change to be taken into account during the design of flood defences, and for building regulations to be changed so properties are more resistant to extreme weather.

Managing the impact of climate change is a major challenge for society
John Parker
An ABI report also said that it is not just household insurance that may be affected by climate change.

Both motor and liability insurance could also be hit with extreme weather leading to more accidents and company directors being held responsible for climate change.

John Parker, head of general insurance at the ABI, said: "Managing the impact of climate change is a major challenge for society - we already live with its effects every day.

"Insurance is in the front line of climate change. Managing risk is central to our industry, and insurers must be equipped to analyse the new risks arising from climate change, and to help customers protect against them.

"The report provides the industry with a platform to ensure that appropriate action is taken by insurers, government and other stakeholders to effectively manage climate change."

Environment Minister Elliot Morley welcomed the findings and said that annual spending on flood defences has been increased from 300m to 400m since 1997.

He also claims that the government is committed to reducing carbon dioxide emissions by 20% below 1990 levels by 2010.


SEE ALSO:
How to buy home insurance
27 Apr 04  |  Business
Homeowners warned over subsidence
25 Apr 04  |  England
Insurer 'maps' UK in flood fight
03 Mar 04  |  Business


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