Climate Change and Insurance: Recent Litigation and Regulatory Developments

Navigating the Impact of Climate Change on Coverage Issues, Green Insurance, Supply Chains and More

Recording of a 90-minute CLE webinar with Q&A

Conducted on Thursday, April 25, 2013
Recorded event now available

This CLE webinar will provide insurance counsel a review of claims over climate change losses and discuss the latest developments in federal and state statutory and regulatory initiatives impacting natural disaster losses due to climate change. The panel will explain specific insurance coverage issues attendant with climate change losses.


The legal, scientific and political focus on climate policy, particularly since recent extreme weather events, has a profound impact on insurance coverage and claims. Practitioners must understand the evolution of climate change liability cases to fully assess the insurance risk.

The Virginia Supreme Court issued the first climate change coverage ruling in AES Corp. v. Steadfast Ins. Co. in May 2012. Our panel will examine and outline the issues that the court addressed in AES—and those the court did not address.

There is continuing uncertainty, increasing complexity and a wide variety of coverage-related questions on climate change facing insurers and policyholders. Counsel requires an in depth assessment of this emerging risk and the future of climate change litigation.

Listen as our authoritative panel of practitioners examines the types of claims filed over climate change losses, recent statutory and regulatory developments, insurance coverage issues for both policyholders and insurers, and other key ramifications of climate change for insurance coverage.


  1. Climate change and insurance overview
  2. Climate change-related tort litigation background and update
    1. Kivalina v. ExxonMobil (Supreme Court petition), Comer v. Murphy Oil (return to Fifth Circuit)
    2. Causes of action/defenses
  3. Climate change coverage cases — background
    1. AES Corp. v. Steadfast Ins. Co. (Va. 2012)
    2. What was decided and what questions were left for another day — occurrence, expected and intended, pollution exclusion
  4. Recent statutory and regulatory developments
    1. Who is EPA regulating?
    2. National Flood Insurance Program reforms
    3. FEMA rules on rebuilding after extreme weather events
    4. Local rules on rebuilding after extreme weather events
    5. Insurability of property on coastlines, other areas impacted by climate change
  5. Potential types of claims and insurance coverage issues
    1. Types of claims
      1. CGL
      2. Property/business interruption
      3. D&O
      4. E&O
      5. Political risk
    2. Coverage issues — examples
      1. Pollution exclusion
      2. Occurrence
      3. Wind/flood/anti-concurrent causation
  6. New products – examples
    1. Renewable energy
    2. D&O extension
    3. Green building replacement


The panel will review these and other key questions:

  • What types of insurance could be involved in climate change-related claims?
  • What is the status of climate change-related tort litigation?
  • Aside from the question of liability for climate change-related torts, what are some of the other insurance and climate change-related concerns for companies?
  • What coverage issues did the Virginia Supreme Court address in the AES Corp. v. Steadfast Ins. Co. case and which questions were left for another day?
  • What is the relevance of the pollution exclusion in this context?
  • What new products are available?

Following the speaker presentations, you'll have an opportunity to get answers to your specific questions during the interactive Q&A.


Christina M. Carroll, Partner
McKenna Long & Aldridge, Washington, D.C.

She is co-chair of MLA’s firm-wide Climate, Energy, and Sustainability Initiative.  She focuses on complex litigation, including insurance, toxic tort, environmental and commercial litigation. She represents insurers in coverage and bad faith disputes and counsels them on emerging risks including the risks and opportunities associated with climate change, hydraulic fracturing, and greenwashing. She represents regulated businesses and government contractors facing property damage, NRD and CERCLA claims.  She is a co-author of Climate Change and Insurance published by the ABA.

J. Wylie Donald, Partner
McCarter & English, Wilmington, Del.

He counsels and litigates for clients on insurance coverage, environmental and products liability matters.  He is also a member of the firm's Environmental Group and he chairs the firm's Climate Change and Renewable Energy Practice. His article, Climate Change and the D&O Pollution Exclusion, is one of the first to extrapolate climate change legal impacts outside of the regulatory area.


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Insurance Law Advisory Board

John Broghammer


Greve Clifford Wengel & Paras

Tred Eyerly


Damon Key Leong Kupchak Hastert

John D. Green


Farella Braun + Martel

Alan P. Jacobus

Lafayette & Kumagai

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William O. Krekstein


Timoney Knox

Jay M. Levin

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Peter J. Mintzer


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Barry S. Neuman


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Hinshaw & Culbertson

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