Industry Issues | ERM & Emerging Risks

European Campaign for Insurers to Divest from Coal, Fossil Fuels Expands to U.S.

Climate Change - News

Insure Our Future is the new U.S.-focused arm of the international Unfriend Coal campaign that touts their efforts to successfully convince major European insurers in the past three years to adopt coal-exclusion policies. The group is reportedly pivoting its focus to the U.S., where it claims insurers have lagged on climate action.

The U.S. campaign was unveiled just ahead of the 2019 Global Climate Action Summit in San Francisco and announced that one U.S. property and casualty insurer has committed to never invest in coal. According to its September 11, press release, the 40 largest U.S. insurers hold over $450 billion in coal, oil, gas and electric utility stocks and bonds, making insurers more invested in fossil fuels than average index funds.  "Insure Our Future is calling out the U.S. insurance industry as a major contributor to climate change and urging them to ditch fossil fuels. Insure Our Future is the first campaign focusing on the U.S. insurance industry's significant role in perpetuating climate chaos."

Since Unfriend Coal began its campaign focused on Europe, 17 large international insurers have divested about $30 billion from coal companies, while six have stopped or limited insuring the coal industry. 

This comes on the heels of a July letter to 22 major U.S. insurers from the Sunrise Project coalition urging them to stop insuring and investing in coal and tar sands. Additionally, San Francisco recently became the first municipal body in the U.S. to pass a unanimous resolution urging the city to end partnerships with any insurer that does not divest from and stop underwriting coal and tar sands.