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Directors at Chubb Insurance are Failing to Address the Climate Crisis—Shareholders are Taking Action

Chubb’s climate record is up for a vote at the insurance giant’s annual meeting on May 19


This year, investors are demanding that insurance companies, including Chubb Insurance, take concrete action in the face of the climate crisis. They are part of a growing shareholder movement calling on companies to align their business with a 1.5ºC pathway.

Shareholder Advocacy Could Drive Chubb’s Climate Policies

Chubb’s annual meeting is on Thursday, May 19, and its climate record will be up for a vote, with two shareholder resolutions focused on alignment with the Paris Agreement, as well as a spotlight on two key directors.

Green Century Capital Management filed a resolution calling on the insurance giant to stop underwriting new fossil fuel projects. Specifically, it calls on Chubb’s board of directors to “adopt and disclose new policies to help ensure that its underwriting practices do not support new fossil fuel supplies, in alignment with the International Energy Agency (IEA)’s Net Zero Emissions by 2050 Scenario.” The IEA has concluded that there is no room for any new fossil fuel projects if we are to avoid climate catastrophe. Last week, New York State Comptroller Tom DiNapoli announced the intent of the $279 billion NYS Common Retirement Fund to vote in favor of this proposal.

In addition to the resolution on fossil fuel expansion, Chubb is also facing a resolution filed by the shareholder advocacy firm As You Sow that requests a plan for emissions reductions in line with a net-zero pathway. Influential proxy advisor Glass Lewis has recommended that institutional investors vote in favor of this resolution, citing inadequate climate disclosures.

Furthermore, Majority Action, a nonprofit shareholder advocacy organization, filed an exempt solicitation announcing its recommendation to institutional investors to vote against, Chair, CEO and Chair of the Executive Committee Evan G. Greenberg, and Chair of the Risk and Finance Committee Olivier Steimer at Chubb Limited, for failing in their oversight responsibilities to address escalating climate change. Specifically, they reference the fact that Chubb has failed to set a net zero commitment, implement robust exclusion policies, and disclose the impact of its insured emissions in line with a 1.5ºC pathway.

Insurers Enable Climate Destruction

Without insurance, fossil fuel projects cannot be built or operated, and Chubb is one of the biggest fossil fuel insurers in the world. Although Chubb was the first U.S. insurer to adopt a coal policy in 2019, the company hasn’t updated its climate policy since then and now lags significantly behind its industry peers on concrete action to decarbonize its investment and underwriting portfolios. According to a 2021 survey of the 30 largest global insurers by Insure Our Future, Chubb is in the bottom third for policies on fossil fuel policies.

Chubb has been one of the leading providers of property and casualty insurance for the oil and gas industry, backing a massive expansion of offshore oil drilling in Brazil, as well as Arctic oil and gas exploration. While Chubb has stated that it does not insure tar sands projects, and according to its 2022 proxy statement, will not do so in the future, the company has refused to formalize that in a public-facing policy with clear definitions and details, as more than fifteen insurers have. Unlike twelve insurers, it has not adopted restrictions on insuring oil and gas drilling in the Arctic National Wildlife Refuge, nor on oil and gas expansion projects more broadly, as eight global insurers have done to date.

In response to Chubb’s ‘business as usual’ approach to underwriting fossil fuels in the midst of the climate crisis, investors are sending a clear message: Chubb’s directors must take concrete action to address its massive carbon footprint and exposure to climate risk. The insurance giant’s continued support of fossil fuel expansion poses massive risks to communities, the economy, and the company’s own shareholders.

In order to remain within safe climate limits and mitigate compliance and reputational risks to the insurer, Chubb’s investors must step up this AGM season and vote yes on Green Century Management’s and As You Sow’s resolutions, as well as vote against key directors Evan G. Greenberg and Olivier Steimer.

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