Insurers could be forced to disclose fossil fuel connections

The state of California could require insurers to disclose all fossil fuel underwriting and investments, Consumer Watchdog, a partner of the Unfriend Coal campaign has said.

The potential call for disclosure rests with state’s Insurance Commissioner Ricardo Lara who has been petitioned by NGOs to introduce requirements for any insurer doing business in the state to reveal their exposure to climate risk. Commissioner Lara has 30 days to respond to the petition.

With 1,300 insurance companies active in the state and $310bn in annual premiums, California is the world’s fifth largest insurance market. Regulatory action in California would affect most of the world’s large insurance companies, including major coal insurers such as AIG, Chubb, Liberty Mutual and Talanx's HDI.

Ross Hammond, a senior strategist with the Unfriend Coal campaign, said: “Climate change is wreaking havoc on the insurance industry – and not just in California. Investors and customers who rely on their services have a right to know what risks they are being exposed to and it is high time for insurers to be transparent about their support for the fossil fuel industry.”

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