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Homes, cars and streets are overwhelmed by water in Lafitte, Louisiana, after Hurricane Ida. Photo: Michael Robinson Chavez/The Washington Post via Getty Images

The Treasury Department just launched a new effort to grapple with how climate change is affecting the insurance market and, by extension, financial markets more broadly.

Driving the news: Treasury, via the Federal Insurance Office, is soliciting information on topics like data needed to measure and assess the sector's climate-related risk exposures and "climate-related issues or gaps in the supervision and regulation of insurers."

  • More broadly, the office is looking to assess the potential for "major disruptions" of private insurance in markets especially vulnerable to climate change.
  • The Wall Street Journal points out that the effort will affect FIO's work with states, which are the primary insurance regulators.

What they're saying: "The increased frequency and severity of climate-related disasters, as well as the magnitude of associated insured losses, highlight the significance of these climate-related financial risks and the role of insurers in responding to them," the notice states.

Threat level: Treasury notes that some consumers are finding it increasingly tough to find affordable property insurance in some markets.

  • The department is also emphasizing insurers' wider role in financial markets, noting that life insurers are among the largest investors in U.S. capital markets.
  • "As owners of significant amounts of assets, insurers could be vulnerable to potential decreases in asset values arising from the transition towards a low-carbon economy," Treasury said.

Go deeper

Definition of success at UN Climate Summit is in flux

Illustration: Annelise Capossela/Axios

The UN Climate Summit in Glasgow is less than 20 days away, and diplomats have entered a crucial period when expectations are raised or lowered to guard against any blowback that might come from a particular outcome.

Driving the news: Officials in the U.S. and abroad are sending clear signals that the odds that COP26 will meet some of its most important goals are diminishing, for a variety of reasons both macro and micro in scale.

Oct 12, 2021 - Science

Weather and climate disasters have cost the U.S. over $100 billion in 2021

Piles of debris is all that's left of a restaurant after heavy rain from remnants of Hurricane Ida came through in Manville, New Jersey, on Sept. 7. Photo: Tayfun Coskun/Anadolu Agency via Getty Images

Weather and climate disasters in 2021 have killed 538 people in the U.S. and cost over $100 billion, according to a report from the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration.

Why it matters: The first nine months of 2021 saw the largest number of billion-dollar disasters in a calendar year so far, with 2021 on pace for second behind 2020, per the report.

Mike Allen, author of AM
2 hours ago - Politics & Policy

GOP senator calls for senility test for aging leaders

Photo: "Axios on HBO"

Sen. Bill Cassidy (R-La.), a physician, told me during an "Axios on HBO" interview that he favors cognition tests for aging leaders of all three branches of government.

Why it matters: Wisdom comes with age. But science also shows that we lose something. And much of the world is now run by old people — including President Biden, 78 ... Speaker Pelosi, 81 ...  Senate Majority Leader Chuck Schumer, 70 ... and Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell, 79.