Thursday, June 20, 2024

Flooding in Somerville on July 7, 2010. (Photo: Rachel VanCott)

Insurance policies are changing in areas facing down the worst effects of climate change, with the nation’s two largest providers – State Farm and Allstate – no longer selling new home insurance in California due to the increasing risks of wildfires. Farmers Insurance has ended issuing property policies in Florida.

Climate change is affecting Cambridge and Somerville too, by bringing more extreme heat days and increasing the risks of flooding. The increasing exposure to extreme weather would raise the risks of damages to dwelling or property, increasing risk and cost for insurance companies.

According to an April report from Insurify, a Cambridge-based virtual insurance agent founded by MIT grad Snejina Zacharia, there will be a 9 percent increase in home insurance rates this year atop 7 percent percent increases in 2022 – in part because of exposure to natural disasters associated with climate change.

Stephen Galante, an agent at Galante Insurance in Cambridge’s Porter Square, confirmed there has been a slight increase in rates in Cambridge and Somerville that could be attributed partially to climate change. During a freezing day last winter “there were a lot of claims filed that day about burst pipes and water damage,” Galante said. “The increase in claims last year can cause rates to go up this year.”

While insurance rate changes this year have seen “a huge increase, more than anything I have ever seen in my 20 years of career,” according to Lori Narinian, an agent at Allston Insurance in Mid-Cambridge, that’s not about climate change – it’s the result of increasing costs in labor and materials.

No local insurance agents spoke to a change in policy due to climate change such as California faces.

“Insurance rates for places like Cape Cod are more likely to be affected by change in climate, since risks for flood and hurricane would change,” said a manager at Garrett-Lynch Insurance in Somerville’s Davis Square. “Since we don’t see an increasing risk here in Cambridge and Somerville, there has been no change in the insurance policy due to climate change in the past year.”


This article was written in partnership with Cambridge Local First.