Clyde & Co Resilience Climate Change Risk Liability Report




Climate change is one of the defining issues of our time. Its effects are already apparent around the world and there is widespread and growing concern about the physical, economic, social and political impact it will have in the near future. There is a growing consensus that the transition to a low/zero carbon economy needs to be accelerated rapidly if catastrophic warming is to be averted. That transition will create a range of economic risks as well as opportunities. Furthermore, as social and judicial attitudes harden, the perceived contributors to climate change face significant exposures, including liability risks. All of this has major implications for businesses. Today, most companies are vulnerable to climate-related risks in some way, even if they are not in the energy sector or other carbon-intensive parts of the world economy. Their boards have responsibilities to shareholders and other stakeholders to understand, measure, mitigate and report on those risks. Climate-related liability risk is a particular case in point. There have already been hundreds of climate lawsuits around the world, but a shift is underway. Cities, counties, states and company shareholders are beginning to find innovative ways to claim from corporations whose activities may have contributed to climate change, or for alleged failures to protect assets and investments against the impact of physical

or transition risks. Such claims will result in a broader spectrum of businesses and senior individuals being exposed to the risk of climate-related litigation. Claims may stem from physical damage to infrastructure and property or from financial damage to share prices and underlying asset values. They may also include anticipated losses and the costs of responding to climate change in future. These cases are being closely followed. For these reasons, climate change is now a critical boardroom issue. Not only the corporations themselves but also their directors, are at risk of being held to account. The increasing liability exposure poses a challenge to insurers. But they also have opportunities to be part of the solution, developing innovative risk transfer products and deploying their expertise in risk mapping andmodelling tohelpmitigate clients’ exposure and enhance resilience to climate change. This paper seeks to explore and shine a light on all these issues, focussing on what businesses, their Boards and insurers need to consider, both now and in their future planning, while assessing the liability risks that are emerging on a corporate and an individual level. Should you require any further information on this topic, or the issues raised in this report, please do not hesitate to contact us.

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