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Connecticut’s Insurance and Real Estate committee holds public hearing to lower insurance premiums and invest in environmental justice communities

The Insurance and Real Estate committee will hold a public hearing tomorrow to lower insurance premiums and invest in environmental justice communities.

When: Thursday, March 2, 2023, 2:30pm
Where: CT General Assembly, Room LOB 2A, 210 Capitol Ave, Hartford, CT 06106
Streaming Link: YouTube Live INS 

Hartford, CT – On Thursday, the Connecticut Insurance and Real Estate committee will hold a hearing on S.B. 1115, aiming to lower insurance premiums and reinvest in environmental justice communities. This bill requires insurance companies that support the industries that fuel climate change to pay their fair share of Connecticut’s climate mitigation and resiliency costs. The bill establishes a surcharge on licensed insurance companies that continue to underwrite fossil fuel companies and fossil fuel projects and deposits part of the surcharge into the Department of Energy & Environmental Protection’s Climate Resilience Fund and provides part of the surcharge to the Connecticut Insurance Department which can use the funds to help communities struggling to afford rising insurance premiums.

Connecticut taxpayers are on the hook for the full cost of climate change. This bill attempts to shift that balance and put the burden on the industries that are fueling the climate crisis. Policyholders will also pay for climate costs through higher insurance premiums and higher repair costs as insurers raise deductibles, cut coverage and low-ball, deny or delay claims. 

Connecticut has recognized the need to lower the costs from climate change through a net-zero law that sets a goal to reduce carbon emissions 80% below 2001 levels by 2050, with an interim target of 45% below 2001 levels by 2030. Connecticut insurers like Travelers and The Hartford still lag far behind international counterparts in ruling out coverage for fossil fuels and setting credible emission reduction targets.  

To address the link between insurance and climate change, Connecticut enacted the nation’s first law on insurance and climate risk, which requires the insurance commissioner to incorporate carbon emissions reduction targets into its supervision and regulation of Connecticut insurers. To incentivize insurers to reduce climate risks properly, Connecticut needs a law requiring insurers to bear the costs of their continued behavior to encourage them to meet their climate targets and help defray the taxpayer’s expenses. 

Quotes from the Insure Our Future coalition:

Tom Swan

Executive Director of Connecticut Citizen Action Group

“The public is already paying for the cost of climate change. Insurance companies continued financing and underwriting of fossil fuels is a significant contributor to this.  This bill is a start in having insurance companies take responsibility for their role in furthering climate change through a surcharge on fossil fuel policies and using these resources to finance resiliency in communities most at risk."

Samantha Dynowski

State Director of Sierra Club Connecticut

“The role that insurance plays in climate change is enormous. Insurers who continue to underwrite climate-destroying fossil fuel projects should bear some of the financial responsibility for dealing with the cost of this choice."

Mary Sweeters

Senior Strategist at Insure Our Future

“As insurers fuel the climate crisis by continuing to insure new fossil fuel projects, states are stepping up to hold the industry accountable. This legislation is a good first step toward prioritizing the needs of communities facing the effects of climate change and makes Connecticut an example other states should follow."

Carly Fabian

Policy Advocate for the Climate Program at Public Citizen

"While the insurance industry often touts its role as an expert in understanding weather and climate-related risks, this understanding has not translated into sufficient action. The industry leaves taxpayers on the hook for the multi-billion dollar cost of adapting Connecticut to an uncertain future. Even as the costs from climate-related disasters grow, insurers have protected their profits by raising homeowner insurance premiums and deductibles, cutting coverage for climate-related hazards and delaying, denying and underpaying post-disaster claims."  

Media contact for CT Citizen Action Group:

Helen Humphreys

Media contact for Insure Our Future:

Kalin Jordan

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