C: Carol M. Highsmith

After the heat comes the floods. A northern hemisphere summer, which has upended climate models and redefined extreme weather on land and seas, continues to set nearly daily records.

After record fires and temperatures have hit Greece, now comes record flooding, with some models suggesting three feet of rain in three days. Already, one person is reported to have been killed by record flooding. Commentators on X are alarmed at what they are seeing in the country:

Greece is not alone.

As some parts of Europe remain stuck in the heat, others are flooding, too. Like Spain, there have been reports of major casualties and flooding alerts. In Madrid alone, there have been nearly 200 call-outs for the emergency services.

There have been floods in Turkey, too:

And nor is it just Europe. In recent days, there has been flooding reported in Sri Lanka:

and Guatemala:

In the U.S., the departure from the Burning Man festival continued after revellers were stranded after heavy rain and flooding. Meanwhile, in Las Vegas:

And New Orleans:

This comes just days after Florida was hit by flooding due to Hurricane Idalia.

And now it seems that insurers, in the U.S. at least, have had enough. U.S. insurers have handed out a staggering $300 billion in natural disaster claims in the last three years. And in the first six months of 2023 alone, climate-related claims amounted to $40 billion.

Once seen as potential allies in the climate fight as they had much to lose, it seems that some, at least, are cutting their losses and stopping cover altogether.

The Washington Post reports, “In the aftermath of extreme weather events, major insurers are increasingly no longer offering coverage that homeowners in areas vulnerable to those disasters need most.”

According to the Post, at least five of the largest property insurers in the country, including Allstate, American Family, Nationwide, Erie Insurance Group and Berkshire Hathaway, have told regulators “that extreme weather patterns caused by climate change have led them to stop writing coverages in some regions, exclude protections from various weather events and raise monthly premiums and deductibles.”

Some insurers are limiting availability, cutting out cover for damages caused by hurricanes, wind and hail, or for those properties near the coast or in areas prone to fires.

As our world warms, as this summer has shown, more extreme weather is now inevitable. There is no longer a fire season. Fires are all year round. All areas are at risk of flooding. Even areas not prone to extreme winds or hurricanes are now being hit. This is the new normal.

And if our homes are becoming uninsurable, leading climate scientist Professor Michael Mann points out that it is the first step to our homes being uninhabitable. The rich will move, but the poor and most marginalized in society will once again suffer.