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Connecticut To Make Insurance Companies That Enable Fossil Fuel Projects Foot Bill For Climate Disasters

Innovative approach by lawmakers in the ‘insurance capital’ has national significance as soaring insurance premiums driven by extreme weather strain household budgets countrywide

HARTFORD, CT – Today, the Connecticut General Assembly Environment Committee voted to approve the Governor’s Climate Resiliency bill (SB11) with an amendment that advances a climate resiliency fund to support communities in Connecticut harmed by extreme weather disasters fueled by climate chaos. The measure instructs the Commissioner of Energy and Environmental Protection to propose by the end of the year how the new fund would be financed with a surcharge on insurers’ policies offered to fossil fuel projects.

Senator Rick Lopes

Co-Chair of the Environment Committee

“The Environment Committee has taken a significant step in making CT a leader on resiliency. The section looking at creating a longer term financing mechanism through an assessment on fossil fuel infrastructure is particularly significant. It is a fair policy to ask polluters to pay and to begin to hold insurance companies more accountable for their role in creating this crisis.”

The exact language of the clause reads:

Sec. 35. (Effective from passage) Not later than January 1, 2025, the Commissioner of Energy and Environmental Protection, in consultation with the Insurance Commissioner, shall submit a report, in accordance with the provisions of section 11-4a of the general statutes, to the joint standing committee of the General Assembly having cognizance of matters relating to the environment on the requirements to create a climate resiliency fund that is funded by a surcharge on insurance policies issued in this state for property damage, general liability, business interruption, and any other form of business loss or similar mechanism in relation to fossil fuel projects.

Such report shall include, but not be limited to, an inventory of relevant fossil fuel projects, recommendations for structuring any such assessment and fund, and mechanisms to ensure maximum compliance with such assessment. For purposes of this section, fossil fuel project’ means any project intended to facilitate or expand the exploration, extraction, processing, exporting, transporting other than by truck storage, or any other significant action with respect to oil, natural gas or coal and includes, but is not limited to, the construction of any infrastructure related to such activities including, but not limited to, wells, pipelines, terminals, refineries or utility-scale generation Facilities.

A coalition of climate activists attended an Environmental Advocacy Day at the State Capitol today, where they met with legislators to advocate for a number of bills, including the Governor’s Climate Resiliency bill.

Tom Swan

Executive Director of Connecticut Citizen Action Group

“This is a huge opportunity for Connecticut to establish itself as a leader in holding the fossil fuel and insurance industry accountable for their roles in fomenting climate destruction. We are thankful that the Environment Committee has taken this first step to making this crucial policy a reality. Polluters must pay for the damage they cause, and the insurance industry’s duplicity has gone under the radar for far too long.”

Samantha Dynowski

State Director of Sierra Club Connecticut

“Now is the time to hold our state's polluters, and those who enable them, accountable. Communities across Connecticut already contend with climate change's devastating impacts. This legislation rightfully creates a climate resiliency fund with a surcharge on the polluters.”

Rev. Dr. Davida Foy Crabtree

Third Act CT

“We are keenly interested in moving this strategic measure forward. It provides a crucial step by which Connecticut can ensure that our government has the resources needed to move into the future in the face of this climate emergency. Property and casualty insurance companies must be held responsible for their ongoing underwriting of fossil fuel projects.” 

The Governor’s bill will head to the Senate floor, and will be decided on in the following weeks. The Connecticut legislative session ends on May 8th.

Media contact

Helen Humphreys
Communications Coordinator for Connecticut Citizen Action Group

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