Health insurance companies that sell individual policies in our state are seeking to increase their rates by an average of 13.5 percent in 2017. To be exact, companies’ rate increase requests range from 9.5 percent by Group Health Cooperative to 20 percent by Premera.
Meanwhile, two of the state’s health insurance companies participating in the state’s Obamacare exchange (Moda and United Healthcare) are dropping out of the market of selling insurance to individuals and families statewide.
Given all the bad news, one would think that Washington Insurance Commissioner Mike Kreidler would be concentrating on the latest consequences of Obamacare. But, you’d be wrong.
This week, Kreidler is holding a climate risk summit at the University of Washington. According to Kreidler, an increase in “property damage from the more frequent and more intense storms and wildfires that come with climate change means bigger insurance claims.”
Kriedler said, “We don’t want to see insurers either leaving markets or coming back with a lot less interest in that particular market – potentially raising rates to the point where they approach real questions about their affordability going forward. And that means getting much more engaged, on a number of issues.”
It’s not surprising that, to some extent or another, Kriedler jumped on blame-everything-on-climate-change bandwagon. After all, he is a liberal. Rather, it’s Kriedler’s reasoning that raises eyebrows. Via KPLU:
For example, [Kriedler] says insurers can put pressure on local governments to beef up their building codes. He says insurance companies also need to pay close attention to their financial portfolios and divest from heavily carbon-based investments, since many of those energy companies are currently failing.
Apparently, Kriedler is now a divestor. And, he believes that advising insurance companies on how to manage their portfolios — particularly by divesting from fossil fuel — is appropriate.
Perhaps Kriedler should stick to figuring out how to manage the disaster that is Obamacare.