June 13, 2018 | 10am – 5pm | Warren Room | UC Berkeley School of Law

Download our new symposium brief to read about key issues and recommendations

Climate change poses risks to California’s economy, residents, infrastructure, cities, and natural resources. The insurance industry, which exists to protect governments, individuals and businesses from the most severe risks they face, will necessarily play a central role in efforts to minimize the harmful impacts of climate change on California. Yet the industry itself is vulnerable to a number of climate change-related risks that may affect its ability to maintain its historical level of protection throughout California. These risks involve three main types:
  1. Physical risk: the increased likelihood of property damage, supply chain interruptions, health risks and other outcomes due to climate change-related events;
  2. Transition risk: the impact to insurers’ assets of an economic transition away from carbon-intensive industries; and
  3. Liability risk: the potential for increased litigation against insureds due to climate change-related losses.
These risks may become significant individually and in the scale and dynamics of their interaction, posing a threat to the insurance industry’s ability to protect Californians as the impacts of climate change grow and solidify. On June 13, 2018 CLEE convened a group of insurance regulators, industry leaders, California energy and climate policymakers, climate data scientists, nonprofit researchers and advocates, and academics for a symposium focusing on the state of climate science and insurance modeling; climate litigation and other legal risks; asset vulnerability and disclosure; insurance innovation and proactive investments; availability and affordability; and integrating insurance policy with broader climate policy.
California Insurance Commissioner Dave Jones delivered a keynote address on California’s leading efforts to protect consumers, promote responsible investment and disclosure, and increase industry and regulator understanding of climate risk nationwide–including the Climate Risk Carbon Initiative and the Climate Risk Disclosure Survey–and the future of the insurance industry in a changing climate.
Trial by Fire, a September 2018 report by the California Department of Insurance and CLEE, is available here.
Resources from the symposium, including slide presentations and background materials, are available below.

Watch the webinar: 

Hosted by CLEE’s Ethan Elkind, Ted Lamm, and former California Insurance Commissioner Dave Jones


(Also see Participant Bios)


  • Jordan Diamond, Center for Law, Energy & the Environment

Keynote Address

  • Dave Jones, California Insurance Commissioner

The State of Climate Science and Insurance Modeling: Identifying Risk, Certainty and Insurance Implications

Moderator: Bruce Riordan, Climate Readiness Institute

Legal Liability: Climate Litigation and Other Risks

  • Cara Horowitz, UCLA School of Law Emmett Institute on Climate Change and the Environment
  • Lindene Patton, Earth & Water Law Group (slide presentation)
  • Jessica Wentz, Columbia Law School Sabin Center for Climate Change Law

 Moderator: Ted Lamm, Center for Law, Energy & the Environment

Asset Vulnerability: Assessing and Managing Risks

  • Alice Hill, Hoover Institution
  • Tricia Jamison, 2° Investing Initiative
  • Henrik Jeppesen, Carbon Tracker Initiative (slide presentation)
  • Nik Steinberg, Four Twenty Seven

Moderator: Aaron Ezroj, California Department of Insurance

Insurance Innovation: New Products and Services, Proactive Investments

  • Stephen Bushnell, Stephen Bushnell + Associates (slide presentation)
  • Richard Jones, The Hartford Steam Boiler Inspection and Insurance Company (slide presentation)
  • Claudia Polsky, UC Berkeley School of Law

Moderator: Evan Mills, Lawrence Berkeley National Laboratory (slide presentation)

Insurance Availability and Affordability in a Changing Climate

 Moderator: Ethan Elkind, Center for Law, Energy & the Environment

Toward Better Coordination between the Insurance and Climate Research & Policy Communities

  • Ken Alex, Governor’s Office of Planning and Research

Closing Remarks

  • Ethan Elkind, Center for Law, Energy & the Environment



Ethan Elkind
Center for Law, Energy & the Environment
UC Berkeley School of Law

Ted Lamm
Center for Law, Energy & the Environment
UC Berkeley School of Law


Ted Lamm

Luke Sherman