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Risk Exposure

The Insurers Secretly Backing the Methane Gas Boom in the US Gulf South

Risk Exposure - Identifying LNG Insurers along the U.S. Gulf Coast

Download the report here. 


Insurance companies are supposed to protect us from catastrophic risks. Yet when it comes to climate change, insurers perpetuate climate chaos and dependence on fossil fuels by insuring new coal, oil, and gas projects while raising premiums and abandoning communities that are hit by worsening and repeat climate disasters. 

And still, the insurance industry tries to present itself as a victim of climate disasters while continuing to insure the fossil fuel projects causing them. The industry is opaque, with little or no disclosure of climate-related risk, failing to reveal basic metrics such as how much insurers invest in fossil fuel projects and which projects companies are underwriting.

A glaring example of the insurance industry’s hypocrisy is its role in supporting dangerous Liquefied “Natural” Gas (LNG) terminals across the US Gulf South. (This report will use “methane” in place of LNG, as LNG is composed mostly of methane, a potent greenhouse gas.) New research reveals the insurers are propping up methane export terminals along the US Gulf Coast even as this wave of fossil fuel expansion perpetuates human rights harms and threatens to blow past the Paris Agreement’s climate targets. At least 35 insurance companies including AIG, AXA, Allianz, Chubb, Liberty Mutual, Lloyd’s of London, SCOR, and Sompo are among some of the insurers of these terminals.

Information in this report – obtained through more than 50 Freedom of Information Act (FOIA) requests – reveals for the first time the extent and scale of specific insurers’ direct complicity in the reckless expansion of methane. The following sections reveal which insurers are covering several methane terminals, as listed on the certificates of insurance for the projects, and discuss the impact the terminals have on the climate and local communities. Then, this report discusses these projects in relation to insurers’ purported climate commitments (or lack thereof). 

Methane export terminals will not only exacerbate the climate crisis and lock in massive methane emissions for decades to come, they also threaten the health, livelihoods, and rights of Gulf Coast communities and Indigenous Peoples who live on the fenceline of these terminals, perpetuating environmental injustice. 

“If built, Texas LNG, Rio Grande LNG, and their proposed Rio Bravo Pipeline would destroy our low-income Latine community’s way of life. Pollution from these mega LNG/methane export terminals would destroy the waterways where shrimp lay their eggs and our people fish to feed their families. We’re calling on these insurance companies to stop insuring LNG/methane terminals because it’s blatant environmental racism.” – Bekah Hinojosa, South Texas Environmental Justice Network

Insurance Companies Underwriting the Methane Gas Boom 

Public Citizen and Rainforest Action Network spent over a year bringing the companies that insure methane export terminals in the US to light. This included records requests, contacting regulatory bodies, and sifting through legal filings. Requests for proof of insurance were submitted to regulatory agencies of all approved and proposed methane export terminals. 

Of the 50 requests, there were 15 responses, which led to the discovery of 7 certificates of insurance. Requests were submitted to the Federal Energy Regulatory Commission (FERC), state offices, local governments, and the ports where the terminals are located. There was no consistency in which entity held the insurance information. Unfortunately, requests can be and are ignored, placing the burden on the public to fight for information, and denying communities their right to know the names of the insurance companies putting their lives and livelihoods at risk. 

The certificates reveal at least 35 insurers across the US, Europe, and Asia providing various types of coverage – property, general and excess liability, and environmental/pollution liability – to seven terminals. AIG, Chubb, Liberty Mutual, and SCOR appear on the majority of the certificates. In addition, at least 20 syndicates of Lloyd’s of London are named in the certificates.

The brokers who arranged insurance are Marsh, Aon, and Lockton, playing a crucial and overlooked role in derailing global climate efforts. 


LNG Terminal Location Insurer(s) Policy expiration date Terminal Capacity Billion Cubic Feet per Day (Bcf/d) Status 
Freeport LNG Freeport, Texas
  • Liberty Mutual and Liberty Mutual subsidiary Ironshore-Liberty Surplus 
  • AIG subsidiary National Union Fire Insurance Co. of Pittsburg, PA
  • Chubb subsidiary Westchester Surplus
  • Starr
  • QBE
  • Coaction Speciality subsidiary New York Marine & General 
  • AXA subsidiary XL Speciality 
  • Talbot (Lloyd’s Syndicate)
  • Beazley
  • W.R. Berkley subsidiary Gemini 
  • Axis
  • Allianz
  • Scor
  • Ascot
  • Various Lloyds of London Syndicates
October 1, 2023* 2.38 bcf/d (Trains 1-3) 

0.74 bcf/d (Train 4) 

Operating (Trains 1-3) 

Approved, not under construction (Train 4) 

Rio Grande LNG Brownsville, Texas
  • Chubb subsidiary Westchester Surplus Lines
  • Liberty Mutual subsidiary Ironshore Speciality
  • Sompo subsidiary Endurance American Speciality
March 8, 2024

June 28, 2026 (only for Liberty Mutual policy)

2.238 bcf/d (Phase I)

1.492 bcf/d (Phase II)

Approved, under construction. Final Investment Decision (FID) for Phase I met in June 2023.

Has not reached full financing for Phase II. 

Gulf LNG Pascagoula, Mississippi
  • KM Coinsurance
  • AIG subsidiary Lexington Insurance Company
  • Sompo subsidiary Endurance Worldwide
  • Argo Re
  • Starr
  • Scor
  • Zurich
  • Lloyds of London
  • Various Lloyd’s of London Syndicates
  • OIAL Onshore Energy
  • Texas Insurance (Crescent)
  • Tokio Marine (Houston Casualty syndicate)
  • Energy Insurance Mutual 
  • Helvetia Swiss
  • Convex 
  • Associated Electric & Gas Insurance Services Limited (AEGIS)
  • HDI Specialty Insurance
April 30, 2024 1.500 bcf/d Operating 

Gulf LNG has until 7/21/26 to start exporting under its current DOE approval. No construction has begun. 

Cameron LNG Lake Charles, Louisiana
  • AIG subsidiary National Union Fire Insurance Co. of Pittsburg, PA
    • Chubb subsidiary ACE American 
  • Liberty Mutual
  • W.R. Berkley subsidiary Starnet
  • Tokio Marine America
    • The Hartford subsidiary Navigators
  • Starr 
  • Coaction Speciality subsidiary New York Marine & General 
  • MS&AD subsidiary Mitsui Sumitomo Insurance USA
  • Allianz 
  • Berkshire Hathaway subsidiary National Fire & Marine 
  • SCOR subsidiary General Security Indemnity of Arizona
  • Swiss Re 
  • Zurich American
  • AXA subsidiary XL Insurance America
  • Munich Re subsidiary Great Lakes insurance
  • Helvetia 
  • HDI Global Specialty
  • Markel International
  • QBE UK
  • Various Lloyd’s Syndicates
June 1, 2024 (Property Security policy) 

June 26, 2024 (General and Excess Liability policy)



0.930 bcf/d (Phase II expansion)

Current facility is operational. Expansion proposal is paused due to the January  2024 US Dept. of Energy announcement.***
Lake Charles LNG Lake Charles, Louisiana Old Republic  September 15, 2024 2.270 bcf/d Import terminal is operational.

Export terminal paused due to the January  2024 US Dept. of Energy announcement.***

Southern LNG** (also known as Elba Island LNG Terminal) Elba Island, Georgia Old Republic September 1st, 2024 0.36 bcf/d currently approved

0.410 bcf/d total pending regulatory approval

Currently operating. Pending approval for capacity increase


Sabine Pass Cameron, Louisiana
  • AIG subsidiary National Union Fire Insurance Co. of Pittsburg, PA
  • Lloyd’s Syndicates
    (Liberty Mutual, Allianz, The Hartford, Travelers, Swiss Re, Torus, Great Lakes (Munich Re), Arch, Infrassure, Chartis, General Security Indemnity Co. of AZ (SCOR), XL, Markel, MS Amlin, AEGIS, Starr, Beazley, Catlin)
Source: Lawsuit

March 1, 2013

4.550 bcf/d

0.855 bcf/d 

Currently operating.

Stage V is in pre-filing with federal US regulators.

Tacoma LNG (also known as Pudget Sound LNG)** Tacoma, Washington
    • The Hartford subsidiary Navigators 
  • Swiss RE
  • Associated Electric & Gas Insurance Services Limited (AEGIS)
  • Energy Insurance Mutual
  • Liberty Mutual
  • NEIL subsidiary Cedar Hamilton 
  • Munich Re subsidiaries Great Lakes and Princeton Excess and Surplus Limited
  • AXA
  • Allianz
  • Chubb subsidiary ACE
  • SCOR
  • (Lloyd’s Syndicate)
  • The Marine Insurance
  • Convex
  • Helvetia 
  • QBE UK
  • Lloyd’s Syndicates (Travelers, Lancashire Holdings, Argenta – Hannover Re, Hardy, Hiscox)
April 1, 2024 Pending export terminal approval Operating after construction completed in 2022 and filed for export terminal expansion. 

Note: Bolding indicates an insurer underwriting a relatively larger portion of the project. This table intentionally excludes worker compensation policies, which directly benefit workers in the coal, oil and gas industry.

*The Freeport LNG insurance certificate expired on October 1, 2023, but all the insurers have refused to publicly commit to not renewing coverage for the terminal despite public pressure to do so.

**Tacoma LNG and Southern LNG are both outside of the geographic scope of the US Gulf South. Tacoma LNG is in the Pacific Northwest, and Southern LNG is in Georgia. The research behind this report was comprehensive of LNG/methane export terminals throughout the United States. These certificates are included in the dataset because neither have been published before.
***On January 26th, 2024, the Biden administration announced a temporary halt on approvals of all new and expanding methane export terminals until the US Department of Energy updates its analysis of the projects to include the climate and community impacts.

Methane Gas Expansion Impacts

Fueling Climate Chaos

Methane is eighty times worse than CO2 over a twenty year period and is responsible for about 16% of global emissions. According to the International Energy Agency (IEA): 

Methane is responsible for around 30% of the rise in global temperatures since the industrial revolution, and rapid and sustained reductions in methane emissions are key to limit near-term warming and improve air quality.

There are eight existing methane export terminals in the US, seven terminals under construction, and an additional 17 terminals in the proposal phase in the US Gulf Coast. With existing exports and new ones coming online, the US is poised to almost double exports by 2028. The climate impacts of the currently operating methane export terminals and those under construction would emit annual emissions equivalent to releasing 1,287 million metric tons (MMT) of greenhouse gasses into the air, similar to adding 345 coal plants to the power grid or adding the emissions of 285,721,641 cars to the road.

Perpetuating Environmental Racism

The majority of new methane export terminals and pipelines are concentrated in the US Gulf Coast, particularly in Louisiana and Texas. Many of these operational and proposed terminals are situated in Indigenous, Black, Brown, and economically disadvantaged communities, perpetuating a longstanding legacy of environmental racism in the Gulf Coast. 

For generations, communities in Corpus Christi, Port Arthur, and Lake Charles have endured the unequal burden and toxic impacts on their air, water, and land stemming from the build out of petro-chemical and fossil fuel infrastructure in the region. Beyond environmental damage, fossil fuels pose constant and cumulative health and safety hazards. Human Rights Watch reported that Louisiana’s Cancer Alley region, which stretches from New Orleans to Baton Rouge, has some of the highest concentration of fossil fuel and petrochemical terminals that cause severe health consequences. This includes elevated risks of cancer, reproductive issues, maternal and newborn health problems, and respiratory ailments. These health burdens are disproportionately borne by the region’s Black residents.

Communities within a 3 miles radius of the proposed methane terminals are exposed to more fine particulate matter air pollution, PM2.5, on an annual basis than over 80% of people in the US. These small pollutant particles travel deep within the lungs and enter the bloodstream, having a high potential for severe and lasting negative health impacts such as asthma, heart disease, lung inflammation, and premature death.

In addition to toxic air and water pollution, communities along the Gulf Coast face escalating climate-driven natural disasters, like hurricanes, flooding, and extreme weather. Many proposed methane export terminals in the area will be severely impacted by extreme flooding and storm surges that are already happening and that climate experts predict will intensify. Yet some insurance companies continue to underwrite these terminals while no longer offering wildfire and hurricane coverage for homeowners and businesses in the same region, citing the risk of climate change as too great.

Threats to Livelihoods and Ecosystems 

Methane expansion harms commercial fishermen, shrimpers, crabbers, and oyster harvesters because of tanker traffic and pollution and the related dredging throughout traditional fishing grounds. These same fisherfolk face the cumulative impacts of climate change, gas explosions, disasters, and oil and petrochemical expansion in the region. Fishing is a significant subsistence activity in the region as costs of living and poverty rates increase. Families who have fished for generations are concerned about the risks to their livelihoods. 

The Gulf Coast is home to many threatened and endangered species including ocelots and the Rice’s whale. Methane gas export terminals threaten their habitat by destroying acres of sensitive marshes, critical wetlands, and coastal prairies. This habitat also serves as hurricane barriers to prevent storm surges for people living nearby. Tourism also takes a hit every time there is a disaster, destroying livelihoods and businesses reliant on this sector.

The methane export terminals present a huge public safety risk. The Pipeline and Hazardous Materials Safety Administration (PHMSA) has acknowledged that there are not enough resources to safely manage active methane operations. There is an industry-wide shortage of methane operation workers, leaving terminals without enough staff to operate safely. Methane terminals are a huge risk, and without stronger regulation, it’s highly likely problems will occur frequently.

Policy Analysis: Insurers Out of Step With Climate Commitments 

Over the last eight years, many insurance companies have restricted underwriting for coal and tar sands oil, yet few have adopted meaningful restrictions for conventional oil and gas. To date, 45 of the largest insurance companies have restrictions on coal, but only 18 companies adopted oil and gas restrictions. Even major insurance companies with climate commitments, like AIG and Chubb, continue to underwrite the methane expansion that is directly at odds with a 1.5°C climate pathway. 

Chubb is the only US insurer to have some restrictions on oil and gas underwriting. In 2023, Chubb announced a new suite of policies to restrict underwriting for oil and gas extraction based on conservation and methane emissions criteria. This is a significant step, marking the first restrictions on insuring conventional oil and gas from a US insurer. Chubb is positioning itself as a leader in reducing methane leaks along the gas supply chain. This is a welcome but entirely insufficient effort given the massive methane pollution that will result if all of the proposed methane terminals are built. Chubb is insuring half of those terminals. Chubb has the opportunity to close the policy gap and lead the global insurance industry by adopting a policy to fully exclude midstream (e.g. export terminals and pipelines) methane underwriting. 

AIG announced new climate policies and a net-zero carbon emissions by 2050 commitment in 2022 but has yet to clarify an implementation strategy. It remains a top fossil fuel insurer with an estimated $500 million in premiums and $24.5 billion in fossil fuel investments. AIG also does not have policies to stop insuring new conventional oil and gas projects, or any policies on securing Free, Prior and Informed Consent (FPIC) of Indigenous Communities. Communities directly impacted by the methane export terminals have reached out to the company repeatedly to meet. AIG has not responded. This is unacceptable, especially given that AIG is underwriting half of the methane export terminals studied.

Travelers, WR Berkley, and The Hartford consistently lag behind US and global peers. WR Berkley is one of the top ten insurers of fossil fuels globally – earning an estimated $575M in premiums in 2022 – with no policies to restrict fossil fuel insurance. Travelers and The Hartford have basic restrictions for coal and tar sands, but have no policies to restrict conventional oil and gas or to respect FPIC. The Hartford has adopted a net zero target but failed to clarify an implementation plan, even as it proclaims itself as one of the “world’s most ethical companies.” These three companies are underwriting methane bombs in the Gulf South, including through syndicates operating in the Lloyd’s of London market – 1967 (WR Berkley), 5000 (Travelers), and 4000 (The Hartford).

Liberty Mutual, Berkshire Hathaway, and Starr are notorious for their dismissal of climate and human rights concerns, as evidenced by the lack of basic policies and non-existent engagement with impacted communities. Liberty Mutual is underwriting half of the methane export terminals studied and ignores frontline communities who requested to meet years ago, and are still speaking out. 

European insurance companies like Allianz, SCOR, and Swiss Re are playing a role in the US methane buildout, and supporting the destruction of Gulf communities, despite having some of the strongest coal, oil, and gas underwriting restrictions. German insurers Allianz, Munich Re, and HDI Global (part of Talanx group) have policies to exclude new upstream oil and gas projects and the construction of new midstream oil infrastructure. Hannover Re ruled out new upstream oil and gas and infrastructure directly connected to it, but all insurers have failed to adopt policies to exclude new gas midstream (e.g. export terminals and pipelines) and downstream (e.g. power plants) infrastructure – the frontier for global fossil fuel expansion. French insurers AXA and SCOR both have net zero by 2050 targets and policies to restrict upstream conventional oil and gas. Both insurers are major underwriters of the fracked methane buildout in the US, being connected to two and four export terminals respectively. Among the Swiss insurers, Swiss Re limits support for new upstream oil and gas, but not for mid and downstream infrastructure. Zurich excludes greenfield oil exploration but has no limitations to conventional gas. Helvetia doesn’t have any exclusions on conventional oil and gas whatsoever.

The world’s biggest insurance market – Lloyd’s of London in the UK – plays a major role in insuring the methane export terminals analyzed, underwriting four out of seven terminals. Collectively, members of the Lloyd’s market accounted for an estimated 9% of coal, oil, and gas insurance premiums in 2022, making Lloyd’s the single largest source of fossil fuel insurance globally. 

Japanese insurers Sompo, Tokio Marine, and MS&AD are also implicated in the US methane frenzy, collectively tied to three out of seven terminals. Sompo has the strongest restrictions on coal and tar sands among Japanese peers, though weak by global standards, and still insures new conventional oil and gas projects including methane expansion without any restrictions. MS&AD has an even weaker coal policy in comparison, but recently committed to reduce the greenhouse gas emissions in its domestic underwriting portfolio by 37% by 2030. Tokio Marine lags furthest behind despite being one of the world’s top ten property and casualty insurers, and has taken no notable steps since 2022 beyond weak policies restricting coal, tar sands, and Arctic projects.


Insurers as Lenders 

Insurers have long invested in fossil fuel companies by buying and holding the bonds they issue to finance their operation and expansion. But in recent years some insurance companies have taken on a different financial role, one typically taken by banks: financier. Banks that specialize in corporate finance typically lend money and provide similar financial services. Most recently, in September 2023, NextDecade, the developer of Rio Grande LNG, took out a $356 million loan in which ALL of the lenders are insurance companies. A subsidiary of German insurer Allianz acted as senior lender on that loan. Previously, another subsidiary, Allianz Global, acted as a bookrunner for a 2019 bond for $727,000,000 to Cheniere Corpus Christi Holdings. While still relatively rare, this means that Allianz and other insurers are profiting from the methane expansion as insurers, investors, and financiers.


Frontline Stories

Rio Grande Valley, Texas

In South Texas, near the US-Mexico border, methane corporations plan to transform the coastal landscape of the Rio Grande Valley from one of the last pristine areas of the Texas coastline – a haven for wildlife, fishing, tourism, and recreation and home to Latine and Indigenous communities – into an industrial methane export hub. There are two proposals for new methane export terminals, – NextDecade’s Rio Grande LNG and Glenfarne Group’s Texas LNG and associated pipelines, on “greenfield” – previously undeveloped land – along the Port of Brownsville. 

The methane terminals’ gas storage tanks, flare stacks, pipelines, and explosion risks will harm the communities surrounding the Port of Brownsville, including the City of Brownsville and those known as the “Laguna Madre”: Port Isabel, South Padre Island, Laguna Vista, Long Island Village, and Laguna Heights. 

With both proposed sites immediately adjacent to one another along the Brownsville Ship Channel, the cumulative impacts on soils, air and water quality, vegetation, wildlife, threatened and endangered species, tourism, commercial fisheries, and noise are significant. These export terminals are planned near an existing SpaceX facility that routinely launches explosive rockets that dump debris on the methane sites. Burning debris on an explosive methane gas terminal is a recipe for disaster in an industry that is already under-regulated.

As is often the case with fossil fuel development, the communities that would feel the negative impacts of these terminals are largely low-income people of color. Methane terminals would be constructed between the Laguna Madre communities and Brownsville, Texas, a rural community that is 94% Hispanic or Latine. The 2019 US Census Bureau data for Brownsville shows that 29.9% of the population lives in poverty, which is higher than the 10.5% national average poverty rate. 

The Texas LNG terminal site contains Garcia Pasture, a sacred site of the Carrizo Comecrudo Tribe of Texas. This ancestral site, which includes ancient burial grounds, is on the National Park Service’s list of historic places and declared an endangered site by the World Monuments Fund in 2022. Rio Grande LNG plans to build adjacent to Texas LNG on land that is sacred to the Carrizo Comecrudo Tribe of Texas. Texas LNG, Rio Grande LNG, regulatory agencies, and financial institutions have failed to consult with the Carrizo Comecrudo Tribe, a violation of Free, Prior, and Informed Consent that is protected by international human rights law under the United Nations Declaration of Rights of Indigenous People (UNDRIP).

Freeport, Texas 

In June 2022, the Freeport LNG export facility exploded. Freeport LNG is the second-largest methane terminal in Texas. The facility was plagued by short staffing, overworked employees, alarm fatigue, and a string of safety incidents. In the days leading up to the explosion, operators expressed safety concerns. Federal regulators charged Freeport LNG with more enforcement actions than any of its competitors along the Gulf. The blast shook community members’ homes in Freeport and nearby Quintana Beach. According to Bloomberg News, “the company estimates 1.6 million cubic feet of natural gas was burned during the fire,” releasing tons of toxic pollution into the air.

Although Freeport LNG immediately claimed there was “no threat to the community,” community members were provided little to no information about the explosion and risk. Deeper investigations by community leaders exposed that multiple beachgoers were injured from the blast, including a toddler. Freeport LNG was closed for eight months, returning to full operation at the end of 2023 with approval from the FERC. 

AIG, Liberty Mutual, Chubb, Starr, and other insurance giants insured Freeport LNG from October 2022 through October 2023. In June of 2023, Freeport LNG’s legal team sent a cease and desist to E&E news to try and stop the publication of the toxic site’s insurance certificate. Despite demands from impacted communities, AIG, Liberty Mutual, and Starr have yet to meet with community members. None of the insurers will publicly commit to ending coverage for the terminal.

Lake Charles, Louisiana 

Sempra’s Cameron LNG is located in southwest Louisiana, at northern Calcasieu Lake near Hackberry, Louisiana. Hackberry is a small town of 2,000 residents about 25 miles from Lake Charles. The Lake receives freshwater input from the Calcasieu River and connects to the Gulf of Mexico through Calcasieu Pass. 

This community is hailed for its redfish and trout fishing. New methane export terminals are slowly turning the scenic area into an industrial landscape. Commercial fishing and outdoor recreation will become inaccessible with the continued LNG expansion. 

Cameron LNG came online in 2019, with full operations in 2020. Louisiana Bucket Brigade’s report – Gas Export Spotlight: Operational Problems at Cameron LNG and Calcasieu Pass – detailed consistent operational issues that resulted in over 60 releases of hazardous air pollutants like benzene, known to cause cancer, in addition to methane. Cameron LNG has underreported their annual emissions, and accidental releases, violating the US Clean Air Act. 

Cameron LNG is ill-prepared for the severe weather of the Gulf Coast. Hurricane Laura directly impacted Cameron LNG in 2020, closing the terminal and resulting in “over 217 tons of gasses… vented into the atmosphere over two days due to a damaged pressure release valve. Greenhouse gasses released from this accident are equivalent to what would be generated from the electricity use of nearly 1,000 homes.” 


Insurance companies are enabling the largest build out of fossil fuels while trying to keep the public and harmed communities in the dark about their involvement. Communities have a right to know which insurers are protecting the toxic fossil fuel projects in their backyard. Communities have a right to have their concerns heard by decision makers. 

Insurance companies must adopt policies to cease underwriting methane export terminals and align their portfolios with credible pathways to limit warming to below 1.5°C. Insurers must implement robust due diligence mechanisms to ensure that their clients fully respect and observe all human rights, including a requirement that they obtain and document the Free, Prior, and Informed Consent of impacted Indigenous Peoples. 

On January 26th, 2024, the Biden administration announced a temporary halt on approvals of all new methane export terminals until the US Department of Energy updates its analysis of the terminals to include the climate and community impacts. This announcement does not stop construction, expansion, or exports at any of the terminals named in the first section of this report. While the announcement from the administration does not stop export terminals that have already been permitted and financed, it provides a clear signal that these terminals are short sighted and carry significant risks to climate and communities.

Insurers must urgently stop enabling the methane boom that’s perpetuating environmental racism, the destruction of ecosystems and communities, and threatening a livable future for all.