Editor's note

If you’re over 80 with a heart condition and have tried to get medical insurance for a trip to the United States, you will have discovered the meaning of the term “uninsurable”.

For many insurers it means no offer, not at any price. If no insurer is prepared to take on the risk, you’ve no choice but to face financial ruin on your own.

That’s the fate the Adani Group’s proposed Queensland Carmichael coal mine appears to have narrowly avoided so far.

While QBE and Suncorp have said no, an unidentified insurer has apparently said yes.

But John Quiggin argues it won’t be long until large-scale coal mining is completely uninsurable.

Insurers don’t like so-called natural disasters and are not particularly keen to help those that contribute to them.

Even more concerning for them, it is becoming increasingly easy for litigants to identify the companies responsible for large chunks of climate change and assemble cases against them.

There have been no successful suits yet, but insurers are in the business of anticipating risks and identifying those that aren’t worth taking on.

Peter Martin

Section Editor, Business and Economy

Top stories

Insurers have to protect themselves against foreseeable risks. For insurers of fossil fuel projects, those risks are growing. Shutterstock

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