AIG, Chubb, others face climate risks investigation

Seven insurers are being asked about their continued support for fossil fuel

AIG, Chubb, others face climate risks investigation


By Terry Gangcuangco

AIG, Berkshire Hathaway, Chubb, Liberty Mutual, Starr, State Farm, and Travelers are facing an investigation by the US Senate Committee on the Budget in the areas of climate risk evaluation and fossil fuel support.

As part of its probe, the Budget Committee is asking each of the insurers the following questions:

  1. On what basis does the company still support underwriting new fossil fuel expansion projects and investing in the fossil fuel industry? Does the company have plans in place to follow the example of global counterparts and either scale back or phase out its underwriting of new and expanded coal, oil, and gas projects? If so, by when does the company plan to cease insuring such coal, oil, and gas projects?

  2. What methodology does the company use to evaluate its future impact on the environment and the climate as a result of its investment and underwriting decisions? What methodology does the company use to evaluate the impact of climate change on potential new and existing insured projects?

  3. Does the company have a plan to ensure that its provision of insurance to oil, gas, and coal companies is in line with a credible 1.5°C pathway? If so, please explain that plan. If not, please explain why the company has chosen not to adopt such a plan.

  4. Does the company plan to divest assets, including assets managed for third parties, from coal, oil, and gas companies whose activities are not aligned with a 1.5°C pathway? If so, on what timeline or by what date?

  5. Please provide a list of the trade associations, advocacy organisations, and lobbying entities with which the company has a professional relationship or membership as well as the amount of money that the company has spent on climate-related lobbying activities over each of the last five years.

  6. What is the company doing to evaluate its membership in those trade associations, funding of such advocacy organisations, and participation in lobbying activities, and to bring such advocacy in line with a 1.5°C pathway?

  7. Does the company have a plan to adopt binding targets for reducing its insured emissions that are transparent, comprehensive, and aligned with a credible 1.5°C pathway? If so, please explain.

  8. How does the company evaluate its responsibilities with respect to the Free, Prior, and Informed Consent of Indigenous Peoples? Does the company have a plan for developing due diligence and verification mechanisms to ensure that both the company and its clients obtain and document the Free, Prior, and Informed Consent of impacted Indigenous Peoples as articulated in the UN Declaration on the Rights of Indigenous Peoples? If so, please explain.

Based on the letters seen by Insurance Business, the responses to the above questions are requested to be provided by Friday, June 16. Meanwhile supporting documents, such as policies and memoranda, are requested to be submitted by June 23.

In an emailed release, US Senator Sheldon Whitehouse said: “I am launching an investigation to obtain key information and internal documents showing how these companies weigh risks to the climate when considering their underwriting and investment decisions.

“This information is especially relevant as some of these companies begin to pull out of certain markets because they see the coming catastrophic climate risks – despite continuing to provide services to the fossil fuel industry.”

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