WASHINGTON, D.C. – The Senate Budget Committee today called on insurance giants American Insurance Group, Inc. (AIG), Chubb Corp, Liberty Mutual Group, Starr Wright USA, Berkshire Hathaway, State Farm, and Travelers Insurance to disclose their coverage for and investments in fossil fuels and information on how each insurer respects human rights.
The Committee’s letter, sent by Chairman Senator Whitehouse and also signed by Committee Members Senators Wyden and Sanders , asks the insurers several questions regarding plans to scale back, phase out, or eliminate support for current and expanded coal, oil, and gas projects, as well as questions related to companies’ climate-related lobbying and policies on respecting Indigenous rights by securing free, prior, and informed consent before supporting projects.
“The U.S. insurance industry continues to dismiss the urgency of eliminating support for fossil fuel expansion and implementing credible, science-based plans to phase out their underwriting and investments in coal, oil, and gas,” says Deanna Noël, climate campaigns director at Public Citizen. “AIG executives need only look out the windows of their New York City board rooms to see the realities of an unfolding climate crisis. Empty climate promises do nothing but set entire regions of the country on course to be deemed too risky to insure and communities everywhere to grapple with an uncertain future. Inaction and inadequate action are unacceptable.”
The Budget Committee’s letter singles out U.S. insurers for moving too slowly to address climate change. Simultaneously, the companies face climate-related risks to their own markets, a reality consumers are facing first-hand as insurance companies increase premiums and pull back from climate-vulnerable areas. The letter comes as State Farm Group, Allstate Insurance Company, Farmers Group, and AIG announced plans to curb homeowners insurance sales in different parts of the U.S.
U.S. insurers reportedly have approximately $582 billion invested in fossil fuels, and none have ruled out support for fossil fuel expansion—a policy omission that cannot be overlooked as scientists have made clear that there can be no new fossil fuel infrastructure if we are to limit warming to 1.5°C above pre-industrial levels and avoid climate catastrophe.
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