A group of Democratic lawmakers, mostly members of the Congressional Progressive Caucus, have asked some of the nation’s biggest insurance companies to stop underwriting new fossil fuel projects that contribute to climate change.
New York Representatives Mondaire Jones and Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez as well as California’s Jared Huffman and Adam B. Schiff were among 16 lawmakers who issued the letters on Wednesday to more than a dozen insurance companies, including American International Group Inc., Berkshire Hathaway Specialty Insurance Co. and Chubb Ltd.
“The insurance industry profits from the expansion of fossil fuels while ripping the rug out from under the communities most affected by climate change,” according to the letters.
To avoid the most catastrophic effects of climate change, the International Energy Agency says there can’t be any new development of fossil fuel projects. The letter also criticized insurers for cutting back services and raising prices in areas most affected by climate threats, like wildfires.
The letters come as insurers try to distance themselves from fossil fuels and achieve carbon neutrality goals.
Last month, AIG committed to a net-zero greenhouse gas emission plan that included a halt on investing in and insuring construction of new coal-fired power plants, thermal coal mines and oil sands. Other insurers have taken similar steps, with more than 20 of the world’s largest insurers committing to transition their portfolios to net-zero emissions by 2050.
Photo: A firefighter protects a home as flames approach during the CZU Lightning Complex fire in Santa Cruz County, Calif., in Aug. 2020. Photographer: Philip Pacheco/Bloomberg