How do insurance companies contribute to climate chaos?

The primary way that insurers help prop up the fossil fuel industry is through providing insurance for oil, gas, and coal operations. Just as you might need to purchase home or car insurance to cover liabilities in case of accidents or disasters, so do fossil fuel companies when it comes to their operations. 

The second way is through investment. Insurers take the premiums that you pay and turn around to invest these dollars into the oil, gas, and coal industries. By targeting the insurance behind a fossil fuel or harmful project, you can create financial turmoil – as all of these companies need insurance to secure the rest of their financing and in order to operate.

Today, the Insure Our Future Coalition is working with grassroots communities from Carrizo/ Comecrudo Tribe of Texas, Freeport, Texas, and Southwestern Louisiana to end insurance for the breakneck expansion of methane gas in the Gulf South of the United States. Communities have been fighting these projects tooth and nail for decades through regulatory processes, finance campaigns, and lawsuits. These same communities are turning their eye to ending insurance to these racist projects, as they recognize that from the Permian Basin to the Gulf, a handful of insurers are backing the projects their communities are fighting to stop.

A picture of a group of protesters holding a large banner that reads Stop Rio Grande LNG!
A picture of two protesters holding a banner that reads Chubb & AIG: Stop Insuring Methane

Want a deeper dive?

Read “Insuring Climate Catastrophe: How Big Insurers Finance and Prop Up the Fossil Fuel Industry” and learn the ins and outs of how insurance companies underwrite and finance the oil, gas and coal companies that are driving climate chaos.

How can we fight against insurance companies?

Stop Adani Campaign

The campaign to stop the Adani Carmichael coal mine continues, as local Indigenous leaders call out the impacts on their land, air, water and sovereignty. Stop Adani was one of the first major fossil fuel fights to utilize insurance as a key lever in their fight, having astounding results. Through grassroots distributed organizing, the insurance campaign provided a key lever for folks to organize in international solidarity with those fighting coal. Over 40 global insurers ruled out providing insurance for Adani, and many created coal policies that prevent coal companies from accessing insurance all around the world.

The Stop Adani Campaign was wildly successful, here are some of the most noteworthy accomplishments

  • Decreased to one sixth of it’s originally proposed size (at least in its initial phase)
  • Been delayed by around 8 years
  • Failed to secure any direct external finance, with over 100 major companies, publicly ruling out any direct association with the project

Stop EACOP Campaign

The East African Crude Oil Pipeline is a proposed pipeline that would stretch from Uganda to Tanzania, posing a massive threat of displacement and devastation to the communities and wildlife in its wake. Building the world’s longest heated crude oil pipeline is incredibly risky business – especially when it runs through an active seismic zone, like the EACOP will. Without insurance to “underwrite,” or cover that risk, the EACOP project will not move forward. Over 22 insurers have ruled out the pipeline, while others are, shockingly, still considering it.

Some of the most inspiring organizing have included mobilizations of thousands of people in direct action campaigns at insurers in Europe led by directly impacted Ugandan activists, and organizing with over 100 employees at the world’s largest insurance broker, Marsh to stop the insurance for the project. The campaign against the East African Crude Oil Pipeline is only growing in controversy and scale.

How can we research the insurance companies financing fossil fuels?

Investing in Climate Chaos Lookup

Look up the investors in coal, oil and gas companies listed on the Global Coal Exit List (GCEL) or the Global Oil & Gas Exit List (GOGEL). Data was collected in January 2023 and aggregated on group level.

Coal Policy Tool

Analyzing the quality of coal policies – the good, the bad and the in-between of the coal policies adopted by financial institutions.

Climate Finance Regulation Hub

A resource hub for anyone interested in learning more about climate finance regulation, put together by members of the Stop the Money Pipeline coalition.

Insure Our Future Scorecard

This is the seventh annual Scorecard on Insurance, Fossil Fuels and the Climate Emergency published by the Insure Our Future campaign. The Scorecard analyses 30 leading primary insurers and reinsurers, assessing their policies on insuring and investing in coal, oil and gas. 

Oil and Gas Policy Tracker

Analyzing the quality of oil & gas policies – the good, the bad and the in-between of the oil and gas policies adopted by financial institutions.

Fossil Fuel Finance Hub is a microsite of LittleSis, Rainforest Action Network, Private Equity Climate Risks and Vanguard SOS.