Municipalities are setting the bar for climate action - and can go further through insurance

With 80 percent of the U.S. population living in cities, local leaders are critical in ensuring a safe climate future for all. From transportation and waste management to sourcing clean energy and energy efficiency, cities are leaders in finding solutions to reduce carbon emissions and making communities more healthy, resilient and prosperous.

As significant purchasers of commercial insurance, municipalities can send a strong message to the US insurance industry by demanding their carriers stop financing climate-killing fossil fuels.

Annual insurance contract renewals present regular opportunities to bring these demands to insurers and provide clear deadlines for them. And with an increasing number of global insurance companies operating in North America have enacted policies to divest and stop underwriting fossil fuels, municipalities have choices that are safer for the climate than major U.S. insurance carrier options.

Municipal efforts to date:

  • San Francisco was the first U.S. city to pass a resolution to cut ties with insurers that are investing in or insuring coal and tar sands companies and projects. The resolution recognizes that insurance companies’ support of dirty energy projects accelerates climate change and pledges that the city will purchase its commercial insurance from companies that are committed to action on climate change

  • The City of Paris passed a resolution in 2018 calling on major insurers to end support for the coal industry, citing its impact on climate change and the pollution that causes 23,000 premature deaths across Europe every year.

Elected officials, risk managers, and sustainability officers can all be a part of this solution. Aligning your city’s insurance procurement policies with other sustainability goals makes sense and is a real solution from the public sector. Why buy insurance against the risks from climate change from the same insurance companies that are making the problem worse by financing fossil fuels?

WANT YOUR CITY OR COUNTY TO GET INVOLVED? START WITH THESE RESOURCES:

Insurance: A Climate Leadership Opportunity for Municipalities

Roadmap: How To Align Your Insurance Procurement with the Paris Agreement

Sample Letter to Your City/County’s Insurance Carriers

San Francisco Board of Supervisors Resolution

questions? Ideas? Tell us about your efforts - we want to hear from you.

Mary Sweeters, Outreach Manager - mary@sunriseproject.net