Campaigners demand insurers take action as CEOs receive letter

Insurers meeting in the US to discuss the future of sustainable cover have received a letter  urging them to immediately cease the insurance of new oil, gas and coal projects.

The letter comes as the insurance industry meets for the first Global Sustainable Insurance Summit in Los Angeles, at a time of  that campaigners say highlights the escalating climate emergency.

At the start of the summit, campaign groups of the Insure Our Future network have sent a letter to what they described as “the world’s leading fossil fuel insurers”, detailing how they need to accelerate the transition from fossil fuels to a clean and just energy economy.

Demands in the letter include:

  • Immediately stop insuring new and expanded coal, oil and gas projects.
  • Divest all assets from fossil fuel companies which have not published a transition plan aligned with a credible 1.5°C pathway and scale up investments in a just, equitable and rapid transition to a clean energy economy.
  • Immediately define and adopt binding targets for reducing insured emissions which are transparent and aligned with a credible 1.5°C pathway.
  • Establish robust due diligence mechanisms to ensure clients respect and observe all human rights.
  • Explore ways to bring fossil fuel companies to court in order to make polluters, rather than insurance customers, pay for the growing costs of climate disasters.

Close to 40 NGOs have so far signed to support the demands, and the letter was sent to the globe’s 30 biggest fossil fuel insurers, who will be assessed and ranked in the Insure Our Future annual scorecard, and over 40 additional major insurance companies.

In a statement Insure our Future stated: “The Insure Our Future campaign has been boosted by its recent Global Week of Action, which took place in early March, in which thousands of people took part across 31 countries, united in the demand for insurers to take urgent action to protect the future. There is growing public scrutiny of the industry due to rising uninsurability, as insurers pull out of high-risk areas or raise premiums to unaffordable levels in attempts to limit their climate-related natural catastrophe losses. As extreme weather events increase, uninsurability will affect more regions, leaving communities vulnerable and governments and taxpayers forced to pick up the protection gap bill.”

Peter Bosshard, global coordinator of the Insure Our Future campaign added: “While the insurance industry abandons climate-affected communities, many insurers continue to underwrite the expansion of fossil fuel extraction, fuelling the very crisis they have warned about for 50 years. No major insurance company has ruled out support for all new fossil fuel projects.”

The Insure Our Future network said it will also raise its demands to the upcoming AGMs of insurers including Zurich Group, Fairfax Financial, AXA, and Chubb.

Aditi Sen, climate and energy program director of the Rainforest Action Network said: “The insurance industry is responding to the escalating climate emergency by increasing premiums or entirely withdrawing from regions at the frontline of the crisis. This further shifts the cost of climate change from the carbon polluters and their supporters to individual families and businesses.”

Ariel Le Bourdonnec, Insurance Campaigner at Reclaim Finance added: “The climate crisis threatens to destroy the foundations of a healthy planet for future generations. The insurance industry is in a powerful position to avert such an emergency by accelerating the transition from fossil fuels to a clean energy economy.”

Close to 40 NGOs have so far signed to support the demands, and the letter was sent to the globe’s 30 biggest fossil fuel insurers, who will be assessed and ranked in the Insure Our Future annual scorecard, and over 40 additional major insurance companies.

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