Hawaii gas chain sues AIG unit

Hawaii gas chain sues AIG unit | Insurance Business America

Hawaii gas chain sues AIG unit

Aloha Petroleum, a subsidiary of oil and gas giant Sunoco, has sued an AIG unit, accusing the insurer of breaching insurance contracts by refusing to defend it in a pair of lawsuits filed by the Hawaiian government alleging that the gas chain contributed to climate change.

In a court document obtained by Reuters, Aloha accused AIG’s insurance carrier of shirking its duty to defend and indemnify the company in two actions that alleged its fossil fuel products caused climate change-related damages.

Aloha held liability insurance policies with Pittsburgh-based AIG unit National Union Fire Insurance Co, which denied coverage based on a pollution exclusion.

The gas chain said that it has incurred more than $880,000 in defense costs related to the climate change lawsuits. It also expects legal expenses to pile up as the litigation progresses.

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In its complaint, Aloha said that the exclusion should not apply, arguing that the policy “specifically provides coverage for ‘product hazard,’ which includes bodily injury or property damage arising out of the named insured’s products.”

The case against the gas chain is of particular interest as there is a scarcity of precedent on whether pollution exclusion covers greenhouse gases that cause global warming, according to Reuters.

The lawsuits brought by the Honolulu and Maui local governments alleged that big oil companies, including Sunoco, Shell, and ExxonMobil, were aware of the climate-related impacts of burning fossil fuels but deliberately hid them from the public.

Read more: Insurance industry needs to dump fossil fuels, says watchdog group

The states of Rhode Island, and the cities of New York and Baltimore, along with several cities and counties in California and Colorado, have filed similar cases against oil and gas giants.