DES MOINES, IOWA — Insurance and agricultural officials in Iowa say extreme weather is having a more pronounced impact on their industries as rising global damage payouts temper insurance profits and unusually heavy rain accelerates soil erosion.

Both industries are critical parts of the state’s economy, and the size and scale of the challenges confronting them were outlined Tuesday at a University of Iowa panel on extreme weather. Panelists were hesitant to draw a direct connection between extreme weather and climate change, which remains a political football, but left little doubt that Mother Nature is on the march.

State Insurance Commissioner Nick Gerhart told participants that global insurance losses due to extreme weather have averaged $70 billion a year since 2010, an increase of 75 percent from 2000 to 2009 and 367 percent from 1980 to 1989.

‘Some insurance carriers have unequivocally said it’s from climate change,’ Gerhart said, noting that one Iowa woman is now fighting an increase in her home’s flood insurance from roughly $700 a year to $5,000 as the National Flood Insurance Program seeks to bridge a $25 billion shortfall.

‘Right now, too much money is being paid out,’ he said.

Iowa Agriculture Secretary Bill Northey said Iowa is receiving more […]

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