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Who Will Pay for Climate Change? Not Us, Insurer Says

May 14, 2014 Media Coverage

NPR Marketplace
May 14, 2014
"Who Will Pay for Climate Change? Not Us, Insurer Says"

Farella Braun + Martel's James Bruen commented on a recently filed suit by Farmers Insurance against Chicago and its suburbs.  The company wants local governments to pay for damages related to flooding caused by large storms. The company's position is that climate change is now a foreseeable risk and local governments should be upgrading their stormwater management systems to account for that risk.

According to Bruen, the theory faces an uphill fight. Very strong legal doctrines protect governments in these kinds of cases, “They can say, ‘You can’t second-guess us on that,’” said Bruen. “‘We have to make a decision politically about where to put our services, and just because you don’t have as many services as you’d like is not a basis to sue us. Sorry.’” Additionally, Bruen noted that the cost of filing the suit is nothing compared to the potential payout: Getting off the hook for climate-related liabilities.

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