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The Hartford Adopts Policy on Tar Sands and Coal

Tar sands measures highlight weakness of Liberty Mutual’s coal-only policy

December 20, 2019 – Today, The Hartford insurance company announced a new policy that restricts tar sands and coal insurance and investing.

The Connecticut-based insurer is a top ten U.S. commercial property and casualty insurer. It has approximately $3.3 billion invested in fossil fuels, including more than $667 million in thermal coal.

The U.S. insurance industry is increasingly acknowledging its role in driving climate change, facing pressure from the Insure Our Future campaign. The Hartford joins 18 global insurers that have already restricted or eliminated insurance coverage for and investments in coal, including U.S. peers Chubb, AXIS Capital, and Liberty Mutual. The new policy also makes The Hartford the second U.S. insurer to restrict coverage for the tar sands sector and fifth insurer globally to do so.

Rainforest Action Network (RAN) Energy Finance Campaigner Elana Sulakshana said:

“With this new policy, The Hartford becomes the first mainstream U.S. insurer to restrict support for tar sands oil and coal. In the face of the climate crisis, The Hartford joins a growing movement of insurers taking action to keep coal and tar sands in the ground and accelerate the transition to a low-carbon energy future.

“The Hartford’s new policy comes on the heels of Liberty Mutual’s much weaker coal-only policy announcement last week. By restricting insurance for new coal plants and tar sands companies, The Hartford’s commitments highlight the gaps in Liberty Mutual’s policy.

“However, the policy contains some critical loopholes. Going forward, The Hartford should rule out insuring new tar sands pipelines and other projects, new coal mines and infrastructure, and all companies facilitating the expansion of tar sands and coal. The company must also commit to a timeline that fully phases out coal and tar sands from its insurance and investment portfolios in line with 1.5ºC.”

Tara Houska, attorney and founder, Giniw Collective said:

“The Hartford’s decision to stop insuring tar sands extraction companies is great, but the major loophole for tar sands pipelines and oil infrastructure still leaves Indigenous communities and the global climate at risk. Tar sands mining needs transportation for extracted tar sands; one cannot exist without the other.

“I know this reality as my people are fighting Enbridge’s Line 3 pipeline, which poses a 10% increase in tar sands extraction and rights violations of numerous Indigenous communities who have not given consent.”

Insure Our Future Campaigner Mary Sweeters said:

“The Hartford’s policy is the fourth from a major US insurer in six months, demonstrating the insurance industry’s shift away from fossil fuels including coal and tar sands is accelerating.

“Attention remains on Liberty Mutual and Chubb to strengthen their policies but now all eyes are on AIG. AIG must adopt a fossil fuels policy, starting with coal and tar sands, that recognizes Indigenous rights and is aligned with climate science.”


According to the press release announcing the new policy, The Hartford rules out underwriting or investing in new coal-fired plants, and companies more than 25% of whose revenues come from thermal coal mining or tar sands oil extraction, or more than 25% of whose power comes from coal. The company also commits to phasing out current underwriting and investing in such projects and companies by 2023.


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