US insurers slammed for investing $90bn in coal

25th February 2021


Web coal istock 917125894

Related Topics

Related tags

  • Fossil fuels ,
  • Global ,
  • Investment

Author

Kathleen Aisa Irvine

Fresh criticism has been levelled at major US insurance companies after new research revealed that they still have nearly $90bn (£64bn) invested in coal, which is the single biggest contributor to anthropogenic climate change.

Released today, the research from the Rainforest Action Network, and 28 additional NGO partners, shows that TIAA has the most invested in coal, on $13.8bn, followed by Berkshire Hathaway, on $7.3bn.

The findings also reveal that US investors hold 58% of institutional investments in the coal industry, equating to $602bn.

Elana Sulakshana, energy finance campaigner at the Rainforest Action Network, said that, as society’s risk managers, insurance companies should know better than to continue to prop up the fossil fuel sector.

“Instead of tackling their outsized role in driving the climate crisis, major US insurance companies are providing a lifeline to the dying coal industry through their investing and underwriting portfolios, fuelling more dangerous climate disasters like floods, wildfires, and hurricanes,” she added.

Today's findings also reveal that AIG has $4bn invested in coal, while Travelers holds $1.1bn, Liberty Mutual $1bn and The Hartford $594 million.

AIG is also one of the top three underwriters of coal, oil, and gas worldwide, and one of few insurers that has yet to taken action to reduce support for fossil fuels, according to the researchers.

Environmentalists and indigenous leaders are now calling on incoming CEO, Peter Zaffino – who takes over 1 March – to address the company’s role in the climate crisis.

David Arkush, climate director at the NGO Public Citizen, said: “AIG loves to remind people that it was one of the first US insurers to recognise climate change, but the company has done virtually nothing to actually address the crisis.

“As an insurer, AIG is supposed to prevent harm. There’s no more time for empty talk. It’s time to stop propping up fossil fuels.”

Image credit: iStock

Subscribe

Subscribe to IEMA's newsletters to receive timely articles, expert opinions, event announcements, and much more, directly in your inbox.


Transform articles

A social conscience

With a Taskforce on Inequality and Social-related Financial Disclosures in the pipeline, Beth Knight talks to Chris Seekings about increased recognition of social sustainability

6th June 2024

Read more

Disinformation about the impossibility of averting the climate crisis is part of an alarming turn in denialist tactics, writes David Burrows

6th June 2024

Read more

David Symons, FIEMA, director of sustainability at WSP, and IEMA’s Lesley Wilson, tell Chris Seekings why a growing number of organisations are turning to nature-based solutions to meet their climate goals

6th June 2024

Read more

A system-level review is needed to deliver a large-scale programme of retrofit for existing buildings. Failure to do so will risk missing net-zero targets, argues Amanda Williams

31st May 2024

Read more

Chris Seekings reports from a webinar helping sustainability professionals to use standards effectively

31st May 2024

Read more

Although many organisations focus on scope 1 and 2 emissions, it is vital to factor in scope 3 emissions and use their footprint to drive business change

31st May 2024

Read more

IEMA submits response to the Future Homes Standard consultation

31st May 2024

Read more

What is the role for nature in the Climate Change Act? Sophie Mairesse reports

20th May 2024

Read more

Media enquires

Looking for an expert to speak at an event or comment on an item in the news?

Find an expert

IEMA Cookie Notice

Clicking the ‘Accept all’ button means you are accepting analytics and third-party cookies. Our website uses necessary cookies which are required in order to make our website work. In addition to these, we use analytics and third-party cookies to optimise site functionality and give you the best possible experience. To control which cookies are set, click ‘Settings’. To learn more about cookies, how we use them on our website and how to change your cookie settings please view our cookie policy.

Manage cookie settings

Our use of cookies

You can learn more detailed information in our cookie policy.

Some cookies are essential, but non-essential cookies help us to improve the experience on our site by providing insights into how the site is being used. To maintain privacy management, this relies on cookie identifiers. Resetting or deleting your browser cookies will reset these preferences.

Essential cookies

These are cookies that are required for the operation of our website. They include, for example, cookies that enable you to log into secure areas of our website.

Analytics cookies

These cookies allow us to recognise and count the number of visitors to our website and to see how visitors move around our website when they are using it. This helps us to improve the way our website works.

Advertising cookies

These cookies allow us to tailor advertising to you based on your interests. If you do not accept these cookies, you will still see adverts, but these will be more generic.

Save and close