You might be wondering: What does the insurance industry have to do with climate change? As part of 350 Colorado’s efforts to defund the climate disaster, we’re not only finding out the answer to this question – we’re also calling on Colorado communities to join.
Insurance companies are supposed to protect us from catastrophic risks. Yet when it comes to the largest threat to humanity – climate change – insurers are fueling dangerous global warming by perpetuating our dependence on dirty fossil fuels. You can’t drive a car or buy a house without insurance. Likewise, without insurance, energy companies cannot build or operate destructive fossil fuel projects like the Keystone XL pipeline, coal-fired power plants, oil drilling in the Arctic, or liquid natural gas export facilities and pipelines. Insurers are propping up the fossil fuel industry in much the same way that banks do – providing insurance for fossil fuel projects and investing billions of dollars into fossil fuel companies. Insurance coverage allows carbon-intensive projects such as coal plants and tar sands mines and pipelines to be built and operated. Furthermore, insurance companies invest customers’ premiums in fossil fuel companies – that is how they make money. The 40 largest US insurers hold over $450 billion in coal, oil, gas and electric utility stocks and bonds. They hold a bigger proportion of their investments in fossil fuels than average index funds.
As the ultimate manager of risk, the insurance industry quietly shapes modern society, deciding what type of projects can be built and operated. We’re excited to partner with the Insure Our Future campaign in holding insurers accountable for their continued support of fossil fuels.
The good news: Local governments and individuals can shift this by influencing the insurance industry. Here’s how you can take action and get involved.
- Check out the Insuring Coal No More Report and Score Card to see how your insurance company fares.
- Demand that the insurers you work with stop underwriting and investing in fossil fuels. Annual insurance contract renewals present regular opportunities to bring these demands to insurers and provide clear deadlines for them.
- Help Colorado become a leader in this space and call on your city or county to call on insurance companies to stop underwriting and investing in fossil fuels.
*For more info and to get involved – including sample letters and toolkits, email firstname.lastname@example.org.