Chubb Announces Climate-Focused Underwriting Standards for Oil and Gas Extraction

March 22, 2023

Chubb Ltd. announced new underwriting criteria for oil and gas extraction projects that will require clients to reduce methane emissions, a by-product of oil and gas production that are among the most severe greenhouse gases.

Chubb also announced it will not provide insurance coverage for oil and gas projects in government-protected conservation areas in the World Database on Protected Areas that do not allow for sustainable use.

The underwriting criteria for oil and gas extraction are part of an ongoing collaboration and consultation with environmental stakeholders and experts, Chubb said.

“The methane-related underwriting criteria that Chubb has adopted – the first of their kind in our industry – are focused on the balance between the need to transition to a low-carbon economy and society’s need for energy security,” said Evan G. Greenberg, chairman and CEO of Chubb.

“As a company, we are accelerating and expanding our climate-related initiatives without committing to sweeping net-zero pledges for which, in our judgment, there is not a viable path to achieve,” Greenberg said in a statement.

“We will continue to pursue in earnest a responsible, realistic and science-based approach. Implementing these underwriting criteria encourages oil and gas producers to adopt technologies to reduce GHG emissions in extraction. We know that many of our clients in the industry are already committed to limiting methane emissions and we will work to expand those commitments,” he added.

Key provisions of the underwriting standards are:

  • Standards for methane emissions. Chubb will continue to provide insurance coverage for clients that implement evidence-based plans to manage methane emissions including, at a minimum, having in place programs for leak detection and repair and the elimination of non-emergency venting.Clients must adopt one or more measures that have been demonstrated to reduce emissions from flaring. These criteria will commence immediately, and customers will have a set period of time to develop an action plan based on their individual risk characteristics. Chubb will also create a customer resource center to support oil and gas insureds in identifying and adopting methane emissions reduction technologies.
  • Standards for protected conservation areas. Effective immediately, Chubb will not underwrite oil and gas extraction projects in protected areas designated by state, provincial or national governments. Chubb’s policy applies to conservation areas covered by International Union for the Conservation of Nature (IUCN) management categories I-V in the World Database on Protected Areas, which includes nature reserves, wilderness areas, national parks and monuments, habitat or species management areas, and protected landscapes and seascapes. The sixth IUCN category applies to protected areas that allow sustainable use.

By the end of 2023, Chubb said it will develop and adopt standards for projects in category VI areas in the World Database of Protected Areas as well as for oil and gas extraction projects in the Arctic, key biodiversity areas, mangrove forests, and global peatlands that are not currently listed in the World Database on Protected Areas.

“Our policy on not insuring energy projects in protected areas also reflects our approach to setting clear guidelines to sustain biodiversity and protect nature,” continued Greenberg. “Taken together, our new underwriting criteria, along with our other substantive actions, are grounded in our commitment to lead the industry in the transition while balancing the need for energy security.”

In 2019, Chubb said it was the first insurer with significant U.S. operations to limit coal-related underwriting and investment. Chubb noted that this policy was later extended to oil sands projects underwriting.

More recently, Chubb launched a new climate business unit, Chubb Climate+, which will provide a full spectrum of insurance products and services to businesses engaged in developing or employing new technologies and processes that support the transition to a low-carbon economy. The business unit also provides risk management and resiliency services to help those managing the impact of climate change.

In January, the company appointed a new global climate officer to provide insights and leadership for Chubb’s climate activities.

Source: Chubb