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Chubb Directors Face Challenge from Climate-Conscious Shareholders

Shareholder advocacy firm Majority Action recommends voting against responsible directors at Chubb Insurance for failing to address the climate crisis.

New York, NY (May 2, 2022) – Today, Majority Action, a nonprofit shareholder advocacy organization, filed an exempt solicitation announcing its recommendation to institutional investors to vote against, Chair, CEO and Chair of the Executive Committee Evan G. Greenberg, and Chair of the Risk and Finance Committee Olivier Steimer at Chubb Limited, for failing in their oversight responsibilities to address escalating climate change. Specifically, Chubb has failed to: set a net zero commitment, implement robust exclusion policies, and disclose the impact of its insured emissions in line with a 1.5C pathway. 

Eli Kasargod-Staub

Executive Director of Majority Action

“Long-term shareholders have the opportunity – and responsibility – to hold corporate boards to clear standards of climate performance in order to protect their portfolios from the escalating systemic risks of climate change. Unfortunately, Chubb has failed to take adequate steps to realign its insurance activities to a net-zero pathway and has fallen behind peers on measurement and disclosure of the climate impact of its insurance and investment activities. The time has come for shareholders to use their voting power to hold directors accountable.”

Although Chubb was the first U.S. insurer to adopt a coal policy in 2019, the company hasn’t updated its climate policy since then and now lags significantly behind its industry peers on concrete action to decarbonize its investment and underwriting portfolios. According to a recent survey of the 30 largest global insurers, Chubb remains without a net zero commitment for its insurance operations and now lags behind industry peer AIG which issued its own net zero commitment in March 2022, and more than 20 insurance companies have signed up to the Net Zero Insurance Alliance. Furthermore, thirteen insurance companies with more than $3.04 trillion in total financial assets are PCAF members, including U.S.-based insurer Liberty Mutual.

Chubb has been one of the leading providers of property and casualty insurance for new oil and gas projects and continues to operate without exclusion policies for new oil and gas expansion despite guidance put forward by the United Nations Environment Programme Finance Initiative making clear that investment in new fossil fuel development is not aligned with a 1.5C pathway. Although Chubb has stated that it does not insure tar sands projects, and according to its 2022 proxy statement, will not do so in the future, the company has refused to formalize that in a public-facing policy with clear definitions and details. Unlike twelve insurers, it has not adopted restrictions on insuring oil and gas drilling in the Arctic National Wildlife Refuge, nor on oil and gas expansion projects more broadly, as eight insurers have done to date. 

Elana Sulakshana

Senior Energy Finance Campaigner at Rainforest Action Network

“In response to Chubb’s ‘business as usual’ approach to underwriting fossil fuels in the midst of the climate crisis, investors are sending a clear message: Chubb’s directors must take concrete action to address its massive carbon footprint and exposure to climate risk. The insurance giant’s continued support of fossil fuel expansion poses massive risks to communities, the economy, and the company's own shareholders.”

In addition to Majority Action’s director vote recommendations, shareholders have filed two separate resolutions concerning the company’s climate policies that will be up for a vote in May. Green Century Capital Management is calling on Chubb to adopt a policy to restrict underwriting new fossil fuel projects in line with the International Energy Agency (IEA)’s Net Zero Emissions by 2050 Scenario. Additionally, As You Sow is asking Chubb to issue a report on how it intends to measure, disclose, and reduce greenhouse gas emissions from underwriting and investing in line with achieving net zero emissions by 2050. 

Last week, New York State Comptroller Tom DiNapoli announced the intent of the $279 billion NYS Common Retirement Fund to vote in favor of these shareholder proposals at Chubb.In addition to investors, activists and community leaders have spotlighted Chubb’s climate and human rights record in recent months. In mid-April, activists staged a series of actions in San Francisco at the RIMS RISKWORLD conference, including a giant banner drop calling on Chubb to take action to protect communities from the harms of fossil fuels and climate change. Last September, activists in New York City erected a giant inflatable prop of Mr. Greenberg outside of the US Tennis Open, of which Chubb is a sponsor.

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