Insurance giant is the target of a global movement pressuring insurers to drop fossil fuels
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CROMWELL, CT (June 21, 2021)—Activists with the Connecticut Citizens Action Group brought banners and a marching band to the entrance of the Travelers Championship Golf Tournament today to protest Travelers Insurance’s role in the climate crisis. “Travelers Underwrites Climate Change,” read their banner, referencing that Travelers is one of the world’s top insurers of the fossil fuels driving climate change.
The action is part of a global campaign calling on insurers to drop fossil fuels.
“It is becoming ever more clear that insurance companies are playing a very destructive role in financing and underwriting climate change. Travelers is one of the last major global insurers that has no restrictions whatsoever on underwriting coal. And despite talking a big game on sustainability, Travelers has over $3.5 billion dollars invested in fossil fuels,” said Tom Swan, Executive Director of CT Citizen Action Group.
In April 2021, Travelers, the second-largest property and casualty insurer in the US, announced plans to become carbon neutral across its owned operations by 2030. But its commitment fails to address Travelers’ massive contribution to climate change: its underwriting and investment portfolios. Travelers is one of the top-three insurers of oil and gas worldwide and one of the last major global insurers that has no restrictions on underwriting coal. Without insurance, these climate-wrecking projects cannot be built or operated.
Travelers also continues to invest heavily in these industries, with US $3.5 billion invested according to the most recent available data. Its holdings include oil companies Chevron, Exxon, and Shell; Connecticut Natural Gas Corporation; and pipeline companies Halliburton and Kinder Morgan.
“We are here today as part of an escalation on Travelers and other insurers to demand they stop underwriting and investing in activities destroying our climate,” Swan continued. “They need to understand that their current efforts at greenwashing will not work. We demand real action to combat the climate crisis.”
With its main office in Hartford, Connecticut — known as the insurance capital of the world — Travelers is a Connecticut institution. It sponsors the annual Travelers Championship Tournament, which is expected to draw about 10,000 people each day, and frequently emphasizes its connection with the local community. Yet Connecticut, and the country, are already feeling the impacts of climate change: more severe and frequent floods, droughts, and heatwaves.
Climate-driven disasters are impacting Travelers as well. Global industry losses from natural catastrophes were $82 billion in 2020. In 2018, Travelers recorded after-tax losses of $1.3 billion from natural catastrophes, including $314 million from the Camp Fire in Northern California.
The insurance industry has come under increasing pressure to sever ties with fossil fuels, including from US senators and most recently from United Nations Secretary General António Guterres who called on the insurance industry to phase out fossil fuel underwriting.
Just last week, Connecticut’s General Assembly passed the nation’s first bill requiring the Connecticut Department of Insurance to address the climate-related risks of insurers. It also requires the state insurance regulator to incorporate emissions reduction targets into its supervision and regulation of Connecticut insurers, including Travelers.
If you would like updates or to speak with representatives of the team participating in the action today, contact Helen Humphreys: 860-202-3731, [email protected].
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 in the US is a campaign comprised of environmental, consumer protection, and grassroots organizations holding the US 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 away from supporting and financing fossil fuels to accelerating the transition to a clean energy economy.
For more information, contact:
Helen Humphreys, 860-202-3731, [email protected]