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Insurance sector management of climate change adaptation in three Nordic countries: the influence of policy and market factors

Glaas, Erik, Keskitalo, E. Carina H., Hjerpe, Mattias
Journal of environmental planning and management 2017 v.60 no.9 pp. 1601-1621
business enterprises, climate, climate change, governance, industry, insurance, issues and policy, markets, planning, politics, risk, Denmark, Norway, Scandinavia, Sweden
The insurance industry is important for facilitating climate change adaptation. Insurance companies’ involvement is, however, influenced by national adaptation policy. The literature suggests that especially policy factors – government interventions, political priorities and public–private cooperation – and market factors – cost offset, cost mitigation, planning flexibility and business opportunities – shape private actor approaches. To increase the understanding of insurance company involvement in adaptation, this study examines how insurance companies’ approaches are influenced by policy and market factors in three countries: Denmark, Norway and Sweden. The study found that the policy factors tested significantly shaped the approaches of the companies assessed, while market factors currently appear less influential. This is likely due to the absence of climate risk and adaptation in political debates and among insurance policyholders. The study discusses the potential role of the insurance industry in adaptation governance and suggests how barriers facing insurance companies could be overcome.