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Insurance group loses more members after GOP attacks on ESG

Mount Fuji emerges at dusk through buildings in the Shinjuku district in Tokyo, in this undated photo.  (Tomohiro Ohsumi/Bloomberg)
By Aaron Clark, Nao Sano and Alastair Marsh Bloomberg

The list of firms walking out of the Net Zero Insurance Alliance continued to grow this week, adding to an exodus as the industry struggles to navigate anti-ESG attacks led by the Republican Party.

The latest round of defections includes Tokio Marine, Japan’s largest insurer by market value, as well as Grupo Catalana Occidente. Others include U.K. giant Lloyd’s of London, MS&AD Insurance and Sompo.

Since Munich Re announced its decision to leave at the end of March, saying it was tied to the “material” legal risks of continued membership, the NZIA has started to look like the first major casualty of the GOP’s campaign to wipe environmental, social and governance goals off the map.

Even founding members including Allianz and Axa have walked away, after attorneys general from 23 states raised the specter of antitrust lawsuits targeting NZIA signatories.

The firms have said they remain committed to reducing emissions, but are no longer comfortable doing so as part of the NZIA.

The alliance is a subgroup of the Glasgow Financial Alliance for Net Zero, known as GFANZ, a coalition of global financial institutions “committed to accelerating the decarbonization of the economy.”

Senior members of the GOP, meanwhile, have cheered the splintering of the NZIA. Utah Attorney General Sean D. Reyes said earlier this month that he and his colleagues “are encouraged” to see the departures from “an alliance that was focused on a radical environmental agenda over the interests of its clients. We will continue to be vigilant and take legal action where necessary to protect Americans from the dangers of ESG.”

The political attacks are interfering with insurers’ independent efforts to price climate risk, which will harm policyholders, main street investors and local economies, a GFANZ spokesperson told Bloomberg last week.