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SEC Rejects Chubb’s Bid to Silence Shareholders on Fossil Fuel Underwriting

Green Century’s resolution will be up for a vote at Chubb’s AGM this May

The US Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC) has ruled in favor of a landmark shareholder resolution filed by Green Century Capital Management calling on Chubb to stop underwriting new fossil fuel projects in line with the International Energy Agency (IEA)’s Net Zero Emissions by 2050 Scenario. The resolution will be voted on at Chubb’s AGM this May.

Green Century filed similar resolutions at Travelers and The Hartford, and expects favorable rulings by the SEC despite all three insurers having filed no-action requests. This represents the first time that shareholders have made a broad challenge to the U.S. insurance industry for its contributions to the climate crisis. The resolutions are part of a larger wave of shareholder activism against both fossil fuels companies and their financial backers, and follows the SEC’s decision to allow shareholders to make greater demands on companies to address climate risk.

In a press release issued by Green Century Capital Management, shareholder advocate Andrea Granger said:

“I can’t overstate the importance of today’s SEC ruling. We can now ask insurance companies to adopt policies that align with the IEA report findings, which we believe makes clear that fossil fuel expansion has no place in a net zero by 2050 future. Insurers like Chubb have enabled the fossil fuel industry to continue business-as-usual which has delayed much-needed adoption of clean energy technologies.”

Elana Sulakshana

Senior Energy Finance Campaigner at Rainforest Action Network

"In response to Chubb’s business as usual approach to the climate crisis, investors are sending a clear message: Chubb must align with the IEA scenario and immediately cut off all underwriting support for fossil fuel expansion projects. Today’s decision from the SEC shows the enormous risks that Chubb’s unchecked support of fossil fuel expansion poses to communities, the economy, and the company's own shareholders.

The ever-intensifying impacts of the climate crisis are driving up the cost of premiums to unaffordable levels across California and other parts of the U.S. In addition to being wholly unethical, it is bad business for Chubb to continue underwriting the industries most responsible for fueling climate change. Chubb’s CEO Evan Greenberg claims to care about climate change, but has not backed up that rhetoric with action.

As Chubb attempted to silence shareholders’ concerns about its fossil fuel business, the company fell even farther behind its peers on climate action. AIG recently announced new restrictions on fossil fuels, and a growing number of European and Australian insurers are taking concrete steps to phase out oil and gas exposure. With the SEC decision today, Chubb’s investors will be spotlighting the company’s climate inaction this shareholder season.”

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