"Despite Climate Promises, Insurance Companies Are Still Covering Coal"

"A new report finds that five major global insurers are still backing U.S. coal mines, even when they've promised not to."

"The insurance industry is in a state of flux because of climate change. This year has seen a record-breaking number of costly disasters in the United States, and insurance companies are on the hook for much of that property damage. But even as insurers pull out of disaster-prone areas, deeming them too risky to insure, they are continuing to cover one of the most polluting industries: coal.

A new report from Public Citizen, a nonprofit advocacy organization, and Insure Our Future, a global coalition aimed at holding the insurance industry accountable for its role in climate change, details the extent to which global insurers are propping up U.S. coal mining companies. In 2022, five insurers — AIG, Liberty Mutual, Lloyd’s of London, Swiss Re, and Zurich — provided policies covering 41 percent of U.S. coal production, even though most of these insurers have made climate commitments. These companies’ policies enable coal mines to continue operating despite their destructive impact on the climate.

The report found that many of the companies still insuring coal mines have publicly promised to stop underwriting coal projects, or made net-zero pledges, in response to pressure from investors and activists. The report details how companies use loopholes like covering mining subsidiaries instead of parent companies, in addition to blatantly breaking their own rules, to continue to insure coal production. Mary Sweeters, a co-author of the report and an organizer with Insure Our Future, said the findings show that commitments alone are not enough to prevent warming."

Siri Chilukuri reports for Grist September 28, 2023.

Source: Grist, 09/29/2023