Connecticut Insurance Companies and Drilling in the Arctic National Wildlife Refuge
Proposals to drill for oil and gas in the Arctic National Wildlife Refuge have alarmed and mobilized many people around our country and across the globe. Actions we take right here in Connecticut can make a difference.
At 19.3 million acres, the Arctic National Wildlife Refuge is America’s largest wildlife refuge and provides habitat for caribou, polar bears and migrating birds from across the globe. The Arctic Refuge’s coastal plain has sustained Indigenous Peoples for millennia, and Iñupiat community members oppose oil and gas development on the coastal plain of the Arctic Refuge, as does the Gwich’in Nation.
You might be surprised to learn that Connecticut has a role to play in the future of the Arctic Wildlife Refuge and the Arctic as a whole. That’s because Connecticut is a hub of the insurance industry. Insurance is necessary for every type of business, and oil and gas exploration is no different. No drilling project can move forward without insurance. Insurance decisions made here in Connecticut can have lasting impacts on the Arctic Wildlife Refuge nearly 3,500 miles away in Alaska and Canada.
The Gwich’in and the Arctic Refuge Defense Campaign have been asking banks and insurers to rule out working with any oil and gas company that wants to drill in the Arctic Wildlife Refuge. So far, 29 financial institutions, including five major American banks, have limited financing for oil and gas development in the Arctic Refuge to date. Approximately twelve insurers have ruled out underwriting projects in the Arctic National Wildlife Refuge, including AIG, AXIS Capital, Swiss Re, and others. Two of the largest insurers in Connecticut, Travelers and The Hartford, have not ruled it out.
You can also amplify your concerns by joining us at the Travelers Annual General Meeting of shareholders on May 25. We’ll rally outside the meeting to call for climate action, including ruling out insurance in the Arctic. Learn more and RSVP for the rally!
Samantha Dynowski is State Director of Sierra Club Connecticut.