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Liberty Mutual announces Chief Sustainability Officer & global coal policy

17th December 2019 - Author: Luke Gallin

Liberty Mutual Insurance has announced the appointment of Francis Hyatt as its first Chief Sustainability Officer, and has also revealed a new global policy on coal underwriting and investing.

liberty mutualThe Boston, Massachusetts headquartered firm has appointed long-term company leader Hyatt in this role to further enhance its continued focus on environmental, social, and governance (ESG) issues, and at the same time lead the insurer’s Office for Sustainability.

He’s been with the firm for 28 years and most recently served as Executive Vice President of Enterprise Talent Practices, where he had responsibility for the selection, development, training, and retention of talent across the company.

At the same time, Liberty Mutual has announced a new policy on coal underwriting and investing, a recent trend amongst insurers and reinsurers.

Specifically, Liberty Mutual will no longer accept underwriting risk for firms where more than 25% of their exposure arises from the extraction and/or production of energy from thermal coal; not make new investments in debt or equity securities of firms that generate over 25% of revenues from thermal coal mining, or utility companies that generate more than 25% of their electricity production from thermal coal; phase out both coverage and investments for existing risks that exceed this threshold by 2023.

Hyatt commented: “We are committed to being a responsible global corporate citizen with a focus on environmental sustainability, supporting the transition to a low-carbon economy and investing in companies that show proven progress in this evolution.

“We understand the shift from coal to clean energy is a journey and we recognize the role the insurance industry plays in supporting that evolution for our customers. Now more than ever it’s crucial that companies take an active role in advancing their ESG agendas, and I look forward to partnering with internal and external stakeholders around the world to help drive positive impact in society.”

According to data from environmental campaign group Unfriend Coal, the number of insurers withdrawing cover for coal has more than doubled this year as the sector’s retreat from the industry accelerates and expands.

Liberty Mutual is the latest to join a growing list of re/insurers to take action and amend their coal investment and underwriting policies.

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