Chubb – Address Risks of Climate Change (2003 – 2004)
Outcome: Omitted by SEC
RESOLVED: The shareholders request that the Board of Directors prepare a report, at reasonable cost and omitting proprietary information, made available to shareholders by September 30, 2004, providing a comprehensive assessment of Chubb’s strategies to address the impacts of climate change on its business.
- We believe the human contribution to climate change has become widely accepted among the scientific community. Legislation, regulation, litigation, and other responses to climate change seem likely.
- “In global warming, we are facing an enormous risk to the U.S. economy and retirement finds that Wall Street has so far chosen to ignore.” (Philip Angelides, Treasurer of California) Some of the nation’s largest pension funds have formed the Investor Network on Climate Risk to address “the potential financial upheaval from climate change.” (New York Times, 11/22/2003)
- In November 2003, as a part of the Carbon Disclosure Project, 87 institutional investors representing over $9 trillion in assets wrote to the 500 largest companies by market capitalization asking for relevant information concerning greenhouse gas emissions. According to the Project Coordinator, “There are potential business risks and opportunities related to actions stemming from climate change that have implications for the value of shareholdings in corporations worldwide.”
- Munich Re’s 2002 Annual Report states that climate related catastrophes are the greatest cost to the industry. Of the 35 largest natural catastrophes that cost insurers over €1 billion, only two were not climate related. Climate change may lead to increased erratic and extreme weather events, resulting in serious environmental and public health impacts.
- Swiss Re sees inaction on climate change as a possible liability for directors and officers (D&O), and is considering potential coverage implications for insured companies that do not address climate change risks. As D&O liability insurance is a significant part of Chubb’s business, we believe investors should know how the company is addressing this issue.
- We believe proactive behavior in the European Union, Japan and elsewhere may put U.S. companies at a competitive disadvantage globally. Of 84 signatories to the United Nations Environmental Programme Financial Initiatives Insurance Industry Initiative, only three are North American companies. Chubb is not a signatory. (http://unepfi.net/iii/index.htm, 11/2003)
- “Catastrophe insurers can’t simply extrapolate past experience. If there is truly ‘global warming,’ for example, the odds would shift, since tiny changes in atmospheric conditions can produce momentous changes in weather patterns.” (Warren Buffet, Chairman, Berkshire Hathaway, 1993)
- With property and casualty customers in 29 countries, we believe Chubb is exposed to climate risks. For example, its subsidiaries Chubb Re and Bellemead Development Corporation, and its insurance products for ocean marine, vacation homes, and health care organizations may be affected by erratic weather patterns and extreme weather.
- Chubb’s Annual Report has, since 1997, stated under the heading Catastrophe Exposure, “We also continue to explore and analyze credible scientific evidence, including the impact of global climate change, that may affect our potential exposure under insurance policies.” Chubb has not responded to investor requests for additional information.