The Progressive


A project of Common Dreams

For Immediate Release
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Insurance Giants Deeply Involved in Underwriting U.S. Coal, Undermining Public Net-Zero Commitments

New Report shows AIG, Liberty Mutual, Lloyd’s of London, Swiss Re, and Zurich insure at least 41% of U.S. coal output, sometimes violating internal policies aimed at slowing climate change

Global insurance giants continue to underwrite U.S. coal production at alarming rates. While more and more insurance companies are feeling the pressure to publicly commit to restricting coal coverage, several major companies, including those no longer offering coverage for certain homeowners, are violating their own policies or exploiting loopholes to continue covering coal, according to a new report released today by Public Citizen and Insure our Future.

The report, which drew on open records requests for insurance certificates from states across the country, found that sixteen insurance companies underwrite the top 25 coal producing mines in the U.S., which account for over 60% of U.S. coal production. Among the leading backers of coal are American International Group, Inc (AIG), Liberty Mutual, Lloyd’s of London, Swiss Re, and Zurich.

These five insurers underwrote the production of at least 245,139,030 short tons of coal from among the 25 largest mines in the U.S., representing at least 41% of total production. AIG issued coverage for the largest share in 2022, at least 28% of total U.S. coal production.

According to the analysis, Swiss Re and Liberty Mutual violated their own policies on coal. Zurich’s policy allows it to continue insuring thermal coal mines, and a comparison of AIG’s policy and insurance records suggest the company is either violating its policy or its policy is so vague as to be toothless.

“While insurance companies claim to have seen the light on climate change when they abandon homeowners, that same concern appears to be nowhere in sight when they chose to insure coal mines,” said Carly Fabian, insurance policy advocate with Public Citizen’s Climate Program. “Insurance providers seem to be greenwashing their images by claiming to restrict coal, while undermining their policyholders and their own stated policies to continue underwriting one of the dirtiest forms of energy.”

“We expected some companies to be underwriting coal projects, but the data underscore the loopholes in their policies and disregard for public commitments across the insurance industry,” said Fabian. “Over the past year, insurance providers have stopped selling policies to homeowners vulnerable to climate disasters. As insurers offer coal mines new contracts while walking away from homeowners, the choices of these companies reflect a clear double standard in who is expected to pay the price for climate change. The insurance industry needs to muster the courage to cut their coverage for fossil fuels before it becomes too risky to insure the rest of us.”

Public Citizen is a nonprofit consumer advocacy organization that champions the public interest in the halls of power. We defend democracy, resist corporate power and work to ensure that government works for the people - not for big corporations. Founded in 1971, we now have 500,000 members and supporters throughout the country.

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