Three top insurers push back on demand to cease underwriting of fossil fuels

Two of the three businesses have also challenged another set of resolutions

Three top insurers push back on demand to cease underwriting of fossil fuels

Insurance News

By Lyle Adriano

An investor in the major insurance companies Chubb, The Hartford, and Travelers Companies has called for the insurers to drop underwriting new fossil fuel projects, but all three are pushing back.

Environmental investment advisor Green Century Capital Management filed resolutions which called for the three insurers and their respective board of directors to “adopt and disclose new policies to help ensure that its underwriting practices do not support new fossil fuel supplies, in alignment with the International Energy Agency (IEA)’s Net Zero Emissions by 2050 Scenario.”

However, Chubb, The Hartford, and Travelers Companies have each filed no-action requests with the SEC.

In its request, Chubb mentioned that its current policy is to restrict insurance for new coal projects. But environmentalists argue that Chubb remains one of the world’s largest insurers of oil and gas expansion, pointing to Chubb’s backing of a massive expansion of offshore oil drilling in Brazil. It was also contended that Chubb is dropping clients in California affected by climate change-driven wildfires.

Travelers and The Hartford have coal and tar sands exclusion policies, but do underwrite policies for other fossil fuels.

On top of the SEC filings, Chubb and Travelers have also challenged another set of resolutions filed by the shareholder advocacy firm As You Sow, which request a plan for the insurers’ emissions reductions.

“Investors are demanding that insurance companies stop supporting the rampant expansion of fossil fuels that is driving the climate crisis. They are part of a growing shareholder movement calling on companies to align their business with a 1.5ºC pathway,” said Rainforest Action Network senior energy campaigner Elana Sulakshana. “But instead of taking concrete action to limit fossil fuel insuring and investing, Chubb, Travelers, and The Hartford are trying to silence their shareholders and continue business as usual.”

Commenting on the above, Matthew Sturdevant, a spokesman for The Hartford said: “We regularly engage in open dialogue with our shareholders and value their perspectives. The Hartford gives each shareholder proposal a thorough review and due consideration. We view the transition to a greener society as a business imperative and are proud of our progress. Our long-standing commitment to sustainability is demonstrated by our actions across the business including sustainable products, transparent disclosure of climate-related goals, risks and operational impacts, and investments in renewable energy. We remain determined to use our resources responsibly to address the challenge of climate change and are committed to keeping our stakeholders informed of our progress.”

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