WASHINGTON, April 19 (TNSPol)(TNSCapv) — public citizen issued the following press release on April 18, 2022:
The California Assembly Insurance Committee has refused to hold a hearing on a bill that would require insurance companies to disclose their role in fueling the climate crisis. The Insurance Investment Disclosure Bill (AB 1694), introduced by a Member of the Assembly Marc Levine (D – Marin County) would require transparency and public disclosure by insurance companies of their investments and policy underwriting for fossil fuel companies and projects.
By refusing to hear the bill at the last committee meeting of the session, the committee virtually condemned the Insurance Investment Disclosures Act for this year. Last week, 34 state and national organizations wrote to the Insurance Committee supporting the bill.
“The Assembly’s Insurance Committee is where bills to protect consumers and regulate the insurance industry go to die. Insurers have spent $1.5 million make campaign contributions to gain committee support, including $231,000 to the chairman of the committee Tom Daly alone, in the past 4 years only. Homeowners assaulted by wildfires and then abandoned by their insurance companies deserve better,” said Carmen Balber, executive director of Consumer Watchdog. “Today’s CDI action does nothing to illuminate insurers’ fossil fuel underwriting – leaving a huge void in the Commissioner’s and consumers’ knowledge of insurance companies’ exposure and contributions to change. climate.”
News of the committee’s refusal to hear the bill comes as California Department of Insurance released a report detailing fossil fuel investments held by insurance companies operating in the state, revealing $536,000,000,000 invested in coal, oil and gas. The data included in the report only details a portion of what the Insurance Investment Disclosure Bill would have required and does not include companies’ purchase of insurance policies for businesses and projects. fossil fuels.
“Insurers are enabling the climate chaos that is endangering people and property and harming so many communities across California. We are deeply disappointed that the Insurance Investment Disclosure Bill, which would have mandated the disclosure of both fossil fuel underwriting and investment information, is not advancing this session,” East said. Peterson-Trujillo, climate finance policy campaigner with public citizen. “public citizen applaud the Insurance Department to provide up-to-date information on California investments by insurers in fossil fuels. However, Commissioner Lara has made it clear that the primary motivation for releasing this data is to help highlight the role that insurers continue to play in fueling the climate crisis. Without further disclosure of insurers’ underwriting of policies for fossil fuel projects, consumers and regulators are left with an inadequate picture.”
public citizen urges Commissioner Lara to expand insurers’ underwriting disclosures to fully understand their exposure to climate risk and asks the Commissioner and the Ministry to begin to manage the transition risk that insurers are clearly exposed to, given these findings.
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the honorable Tom DalyChair, Assembly Insurance Committee
Subject: Support for Climate Risk Disclosure Bill AB 1694 (Levine)
cc: member of the Assembly Marc Levine, Assembly District 10
Dear President Daly,
The 34 undersigned organizations write to you in support of AB 1694 (Levine), directing the Commissioner of Insurance to use existing powers to require that all insurance companies licensed to do business in California fully disclose their investments in fossil fuel-related entities, as well as the fossil fuel-related businesses and projects they insure. This bill also requires the California Department of Insurance (CDI) to publish this information on its website.
Insurance companies in California face threats to their solvency and ability to purchase insurance policies California due to the increased frequency and severity of forest fires, exacerbated by climate change. P&C insurers have posted record losses over several California wildfire seasons./1 In response, insurers have reassessed their underwriting, often with the effect of raising prices or reducing the availability of cover in wildfire-prone areas, causing earnings to rebound to customer expense./2
By investing in and insuring fossil fuel projects and businesses, insurance companies are contributing to wildfires highly linked to climate change they blame for driving up homeowners insurance premiums, policy non-renewals and cancellations. Insurer responses to climate risk, such as policy cancellations or non-renewals and skyrocketing premiums for entire postcodes, are straining communities already threatened by climate disasters. Investing in fossil fuel-related assets also exposes insurers to the risks of stranded assets, falling asset prices and reputational damage.
The Insurance Commissioner has broad powers to require insurance companies to disclose any information necessary to ensure consumers’ access to insurance and is responsible for ensuring the financial stability of the companies he supervises. The CDI gathered relevant information on insurers’ investments in fossil fuels in 2016 and identified that they were inconsistent with California climate goals./3 Unfortunately, the CDI has not expanded or updated this invaluable source of data since then. The annual acquisition of this data will help the insurance commissioner to protect the financial solvency of insurers and the interests of California consumers.
We urge your support for AB 1694 (Levine) when he is heard by the Assembly Insurance Committee.
Americans for Financial Reform
Atmos Financial PBC
Companies for a livable climate
CALPIRG (California Public Interest Research Group)
Climate Action Rhode Island – 350
Climate hawks vote
Clean Air Coalition
Consumers Federation of America
Earth action, inc.
Extinction Rebellion San Francisco Bay
Greenpeace United States
Oil and Gas Action Network
Rainforest Action Network
SoCal 350 Climate Action
System change not climate change
The Greenlining Institute
voice for progress
West End Emergency Preparedness
350 Butte County
350 Conejo / San Fernando Valley
350 Silicon Valley