A hearing is being held tomorrow on Senate Bill 1047, which would also require disclosure of insurers’ fossil fuel investments
Connecticut’s Insurance & Real Estate Committee is holding a public hearing tomorrow on Senate Bill 1047, which would be the nation’s first to require that insurance companies disclose the premiums they receive from fossil fuels. An Act Concerning Insurance and Climate would push Connecticut’s flagship industry to publicly recognize and act on its role in the climate crisis. It would also require disclosure of fossil fuel investments and exposure to climate risks.
“States are the leaders in insurance regulation and state insurance commissioners have no choice but to lead in addressing climate risks in insurance. In Connecticut we are looking at standardized disclosure as a powerful tool to understand the industry’s investment and underwriting risk. The insurance industry is on the front lines of the climate crisis. Connecticut continues to lead the country in identifying regulatory approaches necessary to address the crisis,” said Connecticut State Senator Matt Lesser, Co-Chair of the Insurance and Real Estate Committee.
Insurance is a requirement for coal, oil, and gas projects to be built and operated. By providing that insurance, U.S. companies enable the industries driving climate change. Senate Bill 1047 applies to all insurers operating in the state, including Travelers, AIG, Liberty Mutual, Chubb, and W.R. Berkley, who are among the top 10 insurers of oil and gas globally. Travelers and AIG are in the top 3.
These companies are also among the few remaining in the world that insure the coal industry, which struggles to find insurance now that many global insurers have ruled out insuring coal. The most recent data available shows that top Connecticut insurance companies have also invested over $220 billion in fossil fuels, according to a report by a coalition of groups in Connecticut.
While Connecticut is part of a small coalition of states that requires some disclosure of fossil fuel investments for insurers operating in the state, the most recent data is over 4 years old and there is no requirement in any state for insurers to disclose the extent of their fossil fuel underwriting, making it difficult to measure their contribution to accelerating climate change.
“The insurance industry is currently operating with a level of secrecy that no other actor in our financial system has. This makes it impossible to truly understand the scope of their involvement in the climate crisis. That has to change–and that’s exactly what this bill aims to do,” said Tom Swan, Executive Director of the Connecticut Citizen Action Group, one of over a dozen organizations that signed a letter of support for the bill.
Senate Bill 1047 will require that insurance companies disclose how much they receive annually in fossil fuel premiums and how much they invest in the fossil fuel industry, as well as the climate risk associated with those investments. The bill calls on the state’s Department of Insurance to report this information and to report on the Department’s efforts to integrate climate risks into the regulation and supervision of insurers.
“As the capital of the U.S. insurance industry and a long-time leader in climate action, it is not a surprise that Connecticut wants our flagship industry to join in the fight against climate change. This bill sets the gold standard for understanding the industry’s role and spurring action,” said Samantha Dynowski, Director, Sierra Club Connecticut.
The UN has found that the world cannot afford any new fossil fuel projects if we are to avoid catastrophic consequences. The bill was introduced in the context of a larger movement among banks, asset managers like BlackRock, and other financial actors to distance themselves from fossil fuels.
At least 26 insurers globally have ended or limited their coverage for coal projects. Yet U.S. insurers continue to lag behind their global peers: while at least six U.S. insurers have coal policies, most still insure fossil fuel expansion projects the planet cannot afford. Travelers has yet to adopt a single policy to reduce support for fossil fuels. U.S. insurers have come under increased scrutiny from businesses, the public sector, Indigenous Peoples, and NGOs for their role in driving climate change.
For more information, contact:
Jamie Kalliongis, [email protected], +1 314-651-7497
Helen Humphreys, [email protected], +1 860-202-3731
The Connecticut Citizen Action Group, established in 1971, is dedicated to actively engaging the residents of CT in addressing consumer, environmental, economic and social justice issues. As a part of the Insure Our Future coalition, CCAG organizers have worked to hold CT-based insurance companies accountable for their role in the climate crisis, and call on them to divest their profits from the fossil fuel industry.
Insure Our Future is a U.S. campaign comprising environmental, consumer protection, and grassroots organizations holding the U.S. insurance industry accountable for its role in the climate crisis. It is part of the global Insure Our Future campaign, which promotes a rapid shift of the insurance industry from supporting and financing fossil fuels to accelerating the transition to a clean energy economy.