California’s coastal communities face growing, climate-driven threats, including rising seas and frequent flooding, that impact both coastal ecosystems and the people who depend on them. The multi-trillion dollar insurance industry, which increasingly views these same coastal-climate impacts as unchecked risk, can also be a tool for mitigating this risk if activated through climate adaptation and mitigation efforts.
Building on the innovative recommendations established by the California Department of Insurance’s 2021 California Climate Insurance Working Group, Ocean Science Trust (OST) signed a memorandum of agreement with CDI to provide our science services and support on issues pertaining to resilient coasts and oceans. With this new partnership, and alongside academic experts at UC Santa Cruz, OST will bring the power and financial weight of the insurance industry to bear on building climate resilience for California. This will be achieved through three broad activities:
- Bringing together decision makers, coastal and ocean experts, and climate insurance thinkers in a symposium that generates momentum and public commitment towards empowering and incentivizing insurance as a mechanism for climate resilience;
- Convening multidisciplinary experts to design specific, detailed pilot projects, that will equip California with ready-to-go climate insurance programs, including nature-based solutions; and
- Working alongside state partners to interpret and use the working group outputs for launching each pilot project, with an eye towards long-term funding and institutionalizing as part of state policy and practice in the future.
The scaled approach taken in this strategy, that includes a momentum-generating symposium with a design phase for discrete pilot projects before moving towards implementation and eventually growth into statewide initiatives, is deliberately designed to produce science- and expert-based programs specifically tailored to work in California.
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