he sun rises over the Hudson River and the Manhattan skyline seen from Jersey City, N.J. Photographer: Michael Nagle/Bloomberg

Local Governments Asking Insurers to Cut Ties to Coal

Local governments outside the U.S. have long been pressuring insurance companies to sever ties with fossil fuels, and the issue is starting to gain some traction domestically.

New York City is urging the three largest U.S. insurance companies to divest immediately from the coal industry. San Francisco and Boulder County, Colo., previously moved to put pressure on insurance companies to back away from fossil fuels.

A bill (S.B. 345) before the Connecticut Legislature would require the state’s insurance commissioner annually to collect information from Connecticut insurance companies about their investments in fossil fuels, insurance underwriting of fossil fuel projects and companies, and exposure to climate risk in their investments. The bill’s aim is to accelerate the transition away from fossil fuels, according to March 5 public testimony.

Scott M. Stringer, New York City comptroller, called last month on Berkshire Hathaway, AIG, and Liberty Mutual lnsurance Co. to end all business ties with coal companies, including ceasing to underwrite any coal projects and divesting any holdings in companies that extract or distribute thermal coal.