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The Hartford Says It Will Stop Insuring Some Fossil Fuel Businesses

Jarrod Carruthers
Creative Commons

A major U.S. insurer headquartered in Connecticut said it will cut ties with certain fossil fuel companies. The Hartford said in December that it will no longer invest in or provide insurance coverage to companies that generate more than a quarter of their revenues from coal mining or the extraction of oil from tar sands.

The company said it will also no longer underwrite or invest in the construction or operation of coal-fired power plants.

The Hartford declined a request for an interview, but in a statement, company Chairman and CEO Christopher Swift said, “Extreme weather affects people’s lives and businesses -- and the risks are getting worse. As an insurer and asset manager we recognize the growing cost of this crisis, and we’re determined to use our resources and influence to address the challenge. That’s why we have taken a position on coal and tar sands.”

Michael Barry, a spokesperson for the Insurance Information Institute, an industry-funded consumer education organization, said insurers moving away from the fossil fuel industry is a relatively new -- and accelerating -- trend.

“We’re talking about some of the biggest name brands in the global insurance market,” Barry said. “I think there’s more of a focus in the energy business on renewable sources and moving away from fossil fuels. And I think insurers are revisiting their own business models to reflect some of the changes in the energy business.”

The Hartford said the move will be fully phased in by 2023.

This story has been updated.

Copyright 2020 Connecticut Public Radio

Patrick Skahill is a reporter at WNPR. He covers science and the environment. Prior to becoming a reporter, he was the founding producer of WNPR's The Colin McEnroe Show, which began in 2009. Patrick's reporting has appeared on NPR's Morning Edition, Here & Now, and All Things Considered. He has also reported for the Marketplace Morning Report. He can be reached by phone at 860-275-7297 or by email: pskahill@ctpublic.org.
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