Dave Jones, California Insurance Commissioner took an aggressive stand on Climate Change in a Press Release issued June 21, 2017, stating that if any “…climate denying politicians of red states who threaten to sue me, I will happily defend my obligation as California’s Insurance Commissioner to make sure insurers are addressing climate change related risks and to protect California consumers.” He further noted, “The threats of lawsuits by 12 red state attorneys general and one governor are not going to stop me from doing my job as insurance commissioner to make sure that insurance companies are recognizing potential financial risks associated with climate change.”
He pointed out that the bankruptcy of over 35 coal companies and the refusal of four major US banks to provide loans for new coal infrastructure, and the shift away from fossil fuels (oil, gas, coal and utilities that rely on those) creates a risk of becoming ‘stranded assets’ “ …on the books of insurance companies with significantly reduced or no value.”
Commissioner Jones then asked those regulated insurance companies to “voluntarily divest from coal…and to publicly disclose their investments in coal, oil, gas, and utilities so insurers, regulators, shareholders, and consumers have better insight into these investments and the risks they face due to climate change. Insurers doing business in California now know which way the wind blows.
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