By Perry Beeman
Des Moines Business Record
April 27, 2017

Wednesday’s keynote speaker at the Global Insurance Symposium in downtown Des Moines, Maryam Golnaraghi of the Switzerland-based Geneva Association, a think tank on insurance, economics and risk management, offered two main points:

A carbon economy is “inevitable.”

Climate change is and will be a “core business issue.”

Golnaraghi, who is director of extreme events and climate risks at the association, said businesses will have to deal with the economics of carbon pollution — which could mean carbon taxes, pollution trading or limiting emissions, for example.

Various industries will have to deal with physical risks along with liability and even threats to their corporate reputation. She noted that 91 percent of events with significant damage are related to weather. That means insurance companies could face more exposure as climate change continues.

Golnaraghi was on the scene after a massive Japan tsunami a few years ago, when sea level “exacerbated risks,” she said. She said the shutdown of a nuclear plant in that incident stressed the needs for “buffers” of vegetation to help lessen wave damage.

She also noted that climate change is a bottom-line issue that companies will have to address. “Publicly traded companies will be accountable to report climate risks as part of their annual reports,” Golnaraghi said.