Commentary | Published:

How insurance can support climate resilience

Nature Climate Change volume 6, pages 333334 (2016) | Download Citation

Insurance is gaining importance in and beyond the climate negotiations and offers many opportunities to improve climate risk management in developing countries. However, some caution is needed, if current momentum is to lead to genuine progress in making the most vulnerable more resilient to climate change.

Access optionsAccess options

Rent or Buy article

Get time limited or full article access on ReadCube.


All prices are NET prices.


  1. 1.

    Adoption of the Paris Agreement FCCC/CP/2015/L.9/Rev.1 (United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change, 2015).

  2. 2.

    et al. in Climate Change 1995: Impacts, Adaptation, and Mitigation of Climate Change (eds Watson, R. T., Zinyowera, M. C. & Moss, R. H.) 539–560 (Cambridge Univ. Press, 1996).

  3. 3.

    et al. in Climate Change 2001: Impacts, Adaptation, and Vulnerability (eds McCarthy, J. J., Canziani, O. F., Leary, N. A., Dokken, D. J. & White, K. S.) 417–450 (Cambridge Univ. Press, 2001).

  4. 4.

    et al. Adaptation to Climate Change: Linking Disaster Reduction and Insurance (United Nations International Strategy for Disaster Reduction Secretariat, 2009).

  5. 5.

    Economic Resilience: Definition and Measurement (World Bank, 2014).

  6. 6.

    & Climatic Change 133, 85–100 (2015).

  7. 7.

    IPCC Managing the Risks of Extreme Events and Disasters to Advance Climate Change Adaptation (eds Field, C. B. et al.) (Cambridge Univ. Press, 2012).

  8. 8.

    & Insurance-Related Instruments for Disaster Risk Reduction (International Strategy for Disaster Risk Reduction, 2011).

  9. 9.

    Building an Evidence Base on the Role of Insurance-Based Mechanisms in Promoting Climate Resilience (Climate Investment Funds and Vivid Economics, 2016);

  10. 10.

    , , & Financial Innovations for Social and Climate Resilience: Establishing an Evidence Base (World Bank, 2012).

  11. 11.

    The Impact of Climate Change on the UK Insurance Sector (Prudential Regulation Authority and Bank of England, 2015).

  12. 12.

    et al. Nature Clim. Change 4, 235–237 (2014).

  13. 13.

    Risk Analysis 33, 915–930 (2013).

  14. 14.

    Towards a Framework for the Governance of Infrastructure (Organisation for Economic Co-operation and Development, 2015)

  15. 15.

    Int. Rev. Environ. Res. Econ. 7, 241–278 (2013).

Download references


This paper has benefited from research undertaken as part of the FP7 ENHANCE project, EU grant agreement no. 308438. S.S. would also like to acknowledge the financial support of the UK Economic and Social Research Council (ESRC). L.M.B. acknowledges the contribution from the adaption spearhead of Deltares.

Author information


  1. Swenja Surminski is at the London School of Economics and Political Science, Grantham Research Institute on Climate Change and the Environment, Houghton Street, London WC2A 2AE, UK

    • Swenja Surminski
  2. Laurens M. Bouwer is at Deltares, PO Box 177, 2600 MH, Delft, The Netherlands

    • Laurens M. Bouwer
  3. Joanne Linnerooth-Bayer is at IIASA, Schlossplatz 1, A-2361 Laxenburg, Austria

    • Joanne Linnerooth-Bayer


  1. Search for Swenja Surminski in:

  2. Search for Laurens M. Bouwer in:

  3. Search for Joanne Linnerooth-Bayer in:

Corresponding author

Correspondence to Swenja Surminski.

About this article

Publication history



Further reading

Newsletter Get the most important science stories of the day, free in your inbox. Sign up for Nature Briefing