Connecticut Climate Justice Advocates Fly Plane Through Travelers Championship PGA Golf Tournament
Insurance giant has become target of global movement to pressure insurers to stop fueling climate change
CROMWELL, CT–Today activists with Connecticut Citizens Action Group are flying a plane around the Travelers Championship Golf Tournament, trailing a banner that says: “Travelers is Sponsoring Climate Change.” The action is intended to use the platform of the nationally-televised tournament to bring awareness to the long history of Travelers–and the insurance industry as a whole–in contributing to climate change, environmental injustice, and a looming global economic and social crisis by propping up of the coal and oil and gas industries. The plane launched at 2:40pm and flew around the tournament for over an hour.
Angel Serrano, a community organizer with Connecticut Citizens Action Group, said: “We will not avoid climate catastrophe unless enablers like the insurance industry end their investment in it. For too long, Travelers has sold out the health and safety of Connecticut’s communities by insuring and profiting off investments in fossil fuels. If Travelers cared about our collective future–and about the long-term future of its own business–it would start pulling away from fossil fuels immediately. This is a promise to the executives of Travelers: the climate movement is watching you, and we are in this for the long haul.”
Jasmine Peele, a community organizer with Connecticut Citizens Action Group, said: “It is astonishing that a company so attuned to risk could be so blind to the greatest risk of our time. The COVID-19 hit the insurance industry like a storm. But climate change will not be a single event. It will be a prolonged series of regular disasters already taking its toll on Connecticut communities, especially Black and brown communities. Insurance companies like Travelers are complicit in the injustice of climate change, and, ultimately they will be stuck with the bill. Insurance is Connecticut’s flagship industry, and Connecticut residents are bringing the international fight for climate and environmental justice home. We won’t stop until insurers take meaningful action to stop fueling the climate crisis.”
Travelers is the second-largest property and casualty insurer in the United States, and its main office is located in Hartford, Connecticut, colloquially known as the “insurance capital of the world.” Travelers is a major insurer of oil and gas projects and companies in the U.S. and globally; a recent report released by the Insure Our Future coalition found Travelers has $3.5 billion invested in fossil fuels, according to the most recent data from the California Department of Insurance. Although Travelers proclaims that “changing climate conditions” are “integral to overseeing [its] business and operations,” the company continues to prop up fossil fuels with no recognition of the role it’s playing in driving the climate crisis.
The company currently has zero policies in place that address fossil fuel insuring or investing, even as the company and industry reel from climate change-fueled extreme weather. The company recorded after-tax losses of $1.3 billion in 2018 from natural catastrophes alone, including $314 million in losses from the Camp Fire in Northern California. Travelers’ holdings include oil companies Chevron, Exxon, and Shell; Connecticut Natural Gas Corporation; and pipeline companies Halliburton and Kinder Morgan.