Funding approved to study insurance, climate change risk to coastal communities

Tuesday, December 16, 2014

School of Environment, Enterprise and Development researcher Jason Thistlethwaite received $95,550 in funding from The Marine Environmental Observation, Prediction and Response (MEOPAR) for his project, Insuring Canadian Coastal Communities in the Era of Wild Weather.

Jaason“The goal of this study is to assess the socio-economic impact of existing and future insurance availability and affordability for coastal communities in Atlantic Canada,” says Thistlethwaite. “Information on insurance offers important information on the preparedness of a community, and its capacity to recovery from extreme weather and climate change risk.”

The project is co-investigated with Dan Scott of Geography and Environmental Management and is also partnered with the University of Waterloo’s Partnership for Canada-Caribbean Climate Change Adaptation (ParCA) and the Institute for Catastrophic Loss Reduction (ICLR)

MEOPAR is a team of Canadian researchers improving Canada’s ability to manage and respond to risk in the marine environment and help reduce Canada’s vulnerability and exposure to hazards and improve responses to marine emergencies.

Thistlethwaite’s project is one of 12 upcoming projects sponsored by MEOPAR.

“The availability and affordability of insurance cannot be taken for granted,” says Thistlethwaite. “Wild weather, climate change and the growing cost of property damage puts significant pressure on insurance markets that can lead to shortages. Underinsurance leads to significant economic and social hardship as coverage is required to quality for a mortgage and local taxpayers must bear the costs of extreme weather and natural disasters.”

Thistlethwaite hopes the study creates an opportunity to assess areas where insurance is vulnerable. “Communities can use this knowledge to inform policy, investments and land-use in ways that sustain insurance and improve local resiliency to wild weather and climate change.” 

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