Well, here’s a new development — one we’ll no doubt see more of in the future. Farmers Insurance Company is suing Chicago-area municipal governments in response to claims stemming from April 2013 flooding.
Now a major insurance company is suing Chicago-area municipal governments saying they knew of the risks posed by climate change and should have been better prepared. The class-action lawsuits raise the question of who is liable for the costs of global warming.
Filed by Farmers Insurance Co. on behalf of itself, other insurance companies and customers whose property was damaged by the surge of storm water and sewage overflow, the lawsuits allege the governments of Chicago-area municipalities knew their drainage systems were inadequate and failed to take reasonable action to prevent flooding of insured properties.
“During the past 40 years, climate change in Cook County has caused rains to be of greater volume, greater intensity and greater duration than pre-1970 rainfall history evidenced,” a fact that local governments were well aware of, a suit filed in Cook County, Ill., alleges, citing a climate change action plan adopted in 2008 that acknowledges the link between climate change and increased rainfall.
The suits also say the localities knew their drainage systems weren’t up to snuff because the regional water management authority had published plans in 2011 detailing various defects.
Knowing the risks, they argue, local governments should have increased their storm water storage capacity. Furthermore, the suits allege they were negligent in failing to take temporary measures in the days before the storm, such as deploying water-inflatable property protection systems to mitigate damage.
While the deniers live in Rubio-land, the rest of us have to deal with the real world.