Is the U.S. Insurance Industry Resilient to Climate Change? Insurer Capitalization and the Performance of State Guaranty Associations


We assess the capacity of the U.S. property-liability insurance industry and the efficiency of the state guaranty fund system in response to large scale loss events to assess the resilience of the current system to the growing challenges of climate change. We identify characteristics of the industry’s capital structure and the guaranty fund system that limit the ability to indemnify policyholders following extreme catastrophic losses. We also consider the sustainability of the system over time under assumptions of increasing loss frequency and severity. We find that some attributes of insurance guarantees present short-term problems for policyholders and create long-term challenges for competitive private insurance markets, particularly when a subset of insurers shoulders the burden for past losses.