Chubb’s new oil and gas policy leaves ‘major gaps’, say activists

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The new oil and gas underwriting policy by Chubb is a “notable first step” to protect the environment and communities, but climate activists have found “major gaps” in the framework, arguing it falls short from aligning with climate science. 

On Wednesday, the US property and casualty insurer said it will no longer insure oil and gas extraction projects that are located in specific protected areas or do not have evidence-based plans to manage methane emissions.

“This marks the first policy from a US insurer that applies to conventional oil and gas underwriting,” said climate campaign group Insure Our Future. 

The campaigner and its partners welcomed this as a “notable first step” in aligning Chubb’s oil and gas underwriting with environmental and human rights protection, but pointed out “major gaps” that will allow it to continue insuring the expansion of many new oil and gas fields, oil and gas pipelines and other midstream infrastructure, including in protected areas, and projects that have not obtained the consent of impacted Indigenous communities.

Elana Sulakshana, senior energy finance campaigner with Rainforest Action Network, said: “For Chubb to fully align with a safe climate pathway and a world in which ecosystems and human rights are protected, it must stop underwriting the expansion of fossil fuels everywhere.”

She added: “As the [Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change] report released this week makes clear, our window for action to secure a liveable and sustainable future for all is rapidly closing, and Chubb’s policies remain far from the scientific consensus that we cannot expand oil and gas production to stay within 1.5º C.”

It is not the first time Chubb has been attacked by climate activists. The P&C insurer, along with others, has been subject to scrutiny for years for not doing enough to stop providing insurance coverage for new oil and gas projects. 

One of the campaigns from Insure Our Future is to call on re/insurers to stop underwriting the East African Crude Oil Pipeline in Uganda and Tanzania. The campaigner said the pipeline affects wildlife and local communities.

According to a list outlining which re/insurers are backing the project, Chubb has yet to rule out insuring the EACOP.

“Given that this new policy only applies to oil and gas extraction, Chubb is free to continue underwriting EACOP,” said Insure Our Future. 

Chubb has been contacted for comment.

Should re/insurers stop providing cover for all fossil fuel expansion projects immediately?  

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