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US home insurance ‘bubble’ to pop amid climate risk: Report

  • The national real estate market 'has not adequately priced climate cost'
  • Roughly a quarter of US homes are being underpriced: Report
  • 'If you’re not worried, you’re not paying attention': State Sen. Bill Dodd

(NewsNation) — U.S. home insurance costs could be on the rise as climate change makes wildfires and storms a normality, according to a climate change risk nonprofit.

First Street Foundation is warning the national real estate market “has not adequately priced the cost of climate into its valuation” and that a growing climate “bubble” is close to popping, Bloomberg reported.

First Street estimates, factoring climate models into the financial risk of properties in its report, that roughly 39 million properties — around a quarter of all homes in the country — are being underpriced for the climate risk to insure those properties.

“If you’re not worried, you’re not paying attention,” said California State Sen. Bill Dodd, whose district includes the wine-country counties devastated by the LNU Complex fires in 2020.

“Our recent research identified the size of the existing climate insurance bubble and found that properties were overvalued by an average of 15 to 30 percent across markets where insurers were already responding to climate risk and pushing property owners to the state-run ‘insurers of last resort,'” Matthew Eby, the founder of First Street Foundation, said in an interview with Newsweek.

First Street, a New York-based nonprofit, has been a go-to researcher on the financial implications of climate change for years.

Its research is used by Fannie Mae, Bank of America, the Treasury Department and others for understanding the potential risks to properties.

There are several signs that climate change is taking its toll on the insurance industry. The U.S. homeowner’s insurance industry has had three straight years of underwriting losses, according to credit rating agency AM Best.

Losses for the first half of 2023 totaled $24.5 billion, roughly what was lost in all of 2022.

The Associated Press contributed to this report.

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