Home > Despite record hurricane season, Bermuda’s insurers still backing coal

Despite record hurricane season, Bermuda’s insurers still backing coal

7 December 2020

7 December 2020

2020’s Atlantic hurricane season has been by far the worst ever recorded. On November 10, Theta became the 29th named storm, surpassing the record from 2005, with three weeks of the official hurricane season still to go.

Scientists say the links between worsening storm seasons, elevated ocean surface temperatures and human-fueled global warming are clear and getting clearer. The fact is, the burning of coal, oil and gas is impacting the formation, frequency and nature of storms all over the world.

The British territory of Bermuda in the North Atlantic copped a direct hit from Hurricane Paulette in September with another two hurricanes passing relatively nearby in the weeks afterwards.

Bermuda is a tax haven, with no corporate income tax, and due to this it is the home base for many of the world’s tax-avoiding insurance and reinsurance companies. It is often referred to as the “risk capital of the world” or the “natural catastrophe risk capital of the world”.

Bermuda’s insurers have good reason to be very aware of the ever-worsening impacts of the climate crisis beyond hurricanes hitting their headquarters, with extreme weather fueled by global warming hitting company profits and threatening their entire business model. The number of natural catastrophes per year has almost quadrupled since 1980 and insurance is becoming unaffordable across growing swathes of the world

Bermuda’s insurance industry pioneered a science-based approach to catastrophe modelling in the 1990s, which established it as a centre for investment.

So it is odd, considering this history, that several of the insurance companies currently refusing to take a stand against one of the biggest proposed carbon bombs on Earth, the Adani Carmichael coal project, are these same Bermuda insurers. That’s not a very science-based position.

Twenty-seven of the world’s biggest insurance companies have now publicly committed to never insure Adani Carmichael. This includes 17 syndicates active in the Lloyd’s market – the place that Adani is currently sourcing its insurance after HDI, Liberty Mutual and AXA refused to renew their policies. The shunning of Carmichael is due to the carbon emissions that will be generated via the coal when it is burnt in Adani’s power stations, as well as its many other negative impacts on the land of the Wangan and Jagalingou Traditional Owners, water supplies and ecology.

However, many Bermuda-based insurers are inexplicably holding out and are still open to supporting a project that will fuel more “natural” catastrophes and extreme weather.

These insurers are: 

  • Arch Capital Group
  • Hamilton Insurance Group
  • Convex Insurance
  • Lancashire Insurance Company
  • Hiscox Ltd.
  • Markel Corporation

Despite numerous requests, these insurers, which are all well aware of the threat the climate crisis poses to Bermuda and the entire world, are for some reason refusing to join their peers in making an Adani commitment.

This is irresponsible behaviour by companies that claim to be experts on risk. 

Take action: call on all the insurers which haven’t yet ruled out Adani Carmichael to take a stand for our future.

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