Insurance co suing Chicago municipalities for flood damage

While the jury still be out on public opinion on Climate Change, in the Risk and Insurance industry, the verdict is coming in quickly.
It began in 2010 when State Farm said it would no longer write or renew insurance policies on North Carolina’s barrier islands a.k.a the Outer Banks.

Now as of May 2014, the Insurance companies have gone another step. Farmer’s Insurance of Illinois is suing Chicago’s municipalities for flood losses the insurance company said could have been mitigated if the Municipalities had listened to warnings about increased floods from Climate Change and Global Warming.

In nine class-action lawsuits, Illinois Farmers Insurance Co. wants dozens of Chicago-area municipalities to reimburse them for claims they paid to flooded homeowners after a 2-day downpour last year.
Illinois Farmers says local officials know that climate change is causing heavier rainfall, yet they aren’t protecting homeowners. They should have drained tunnels and retention basins before the storm, they say. In the lawsuit, they point to Chicago’s Climate Action Plan as evidence that the city is aware of the dangers.

“Farmers is asking to be reimbursed for the claims it paid to homeowners who sometimes saw geysers of sewage ruin basement walls, floors and furniture. The company says it also paid policyholders for lost income, the cost of evacuations and other damages related to declining property values. But some analysts say that Farmers likely has a bigger prize in mind,” reports ClimateWire.

The damage was completely preventable, says Farmers, and is filing the case to make sure it doesn’t happen again. At the very least, they could have put out sandbags before the storm hit.
Its parent company, Zurich Insurance Group, could be setting a precedent on how insurance companies will – or won’t – pay for claims related to climate change.

If these Class Action lawsuits by the Insurance companies are successful it would mean that Governmental officials who deny Climate Change and fail to respond through forward looking legislation and preparation will cost their citizens and tax payers they represent the ability to get adequate insurance coverage in times of Natural disaster.
It seems the free market, in the form of basic insurance, is moving ahead on Climate Change even before our government.
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