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Media Release

Media release: Chubb’s coal policy has an Australia-sized loophole

10 July 2019

July 9, 2019

Chubb’s new restrictions on its underwriting and investments in thermal coal have come under attack from Australia, as groups there call upon the insurer to clarify its stance on the controversial Adani Carmichael coal project.

Chubb’s policy rules out underwriting new risks from companies that receive more than 30% of revenue from mining thermal coal, but doesn’t contain any restriction on underwriting new coal mines being constructed by companies that fall below that threshold.

“This glaring omission in Chubb’s policy means there is nothing stopping Chubb from underwriting one of the biggest new coal mines on Earth,” said Julien Vincent, executive director at Market Forces.

“Chubb’s CEO says the new coal policy reflects Chubb’s commitment to do its part for the necessary transition to a low-carbon economy. If Chubb is still open to insuring Adani’s mega coal mine then it must have a warped idea of what a low carbon economy looks like.”

The Adani Carmichael coal mine would produce enough coal over its lifetime to emit 4.6 billion tonnes of CO2, equivalent to more than eight years of Australia’s annual greenhouse gas emissions. Its development would enable more coal mines to be built in the currently mine-free Galilee Basin in central Queensland.

“So far, due to the carbon pollution and environmental damage the mine would cause, 14 major insurers, including Liberty Mutual, FM Global, Allianz and AXA have ruled out underwriting this project and 37 major banks have ruled out funding it. The project has been delayed around seven years and is still the subject of court challenges by traditional owners and environment groups,” said Mr Vincent.

Hundreds of local #StopAdani community groups have sprung up around Australia over the last two years, and representatives of tourism businesses, farmers and religious congregations have mobilised against the Carmichael coal mine.

“If Chubb wants us to take its coal policy seriously then it can’t leave any uncertainty around its position on Adani’s Carmichael mine. It needs to be clear, like many of its competitors have been, will it insure this climate-wrecking mine or not?”, said Dermot Dorgan, a volunteer with #StopAdani Brisbane.

“Polls consistently show that a significant majority of Australians do not want to see this mine built. Community opposition has delayed the project by around seven years and convinced over 50 major companies to commit to never working on the project. Any company whose position is unclear can expect continued questions and protests from Australians from all walks of life,” Mr Dorgan concluded.

For further comment contact Pablo Brait, Market Forces.