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Insurance executives join chorus condemning storming of US Capitol

capitol riot

Insurance executives joined other business leaders weighing in on the need for a peaceful transition of power in the face of violence from pro-Trump supporters in Washington on Wednesday and attempts by Republicans to delay the certification of the U.S. presidential election results.

In a statement Thursday, Chubb Ltd. Chairman and CEO Evan Greenberg said: “As citizens of our great nation, all of us have a responsibility to speak out against and condemn in the strongest terms the violence and display of demagoguery we witnessed in our nation’s capital yesterday. This is not who we are as a nation, and our democracy must be protected.”

The statement came one day after protestors who apparently questioned the validity of the November elections forced their way into the U.S. Capitol building. One person was fatally shot and more than 50 were arrested during the violence.

The elections were “fair and lawful,” Mr. Greenberg said. “We should all hope for a new era of respect and decency as we meet the many common challenges facing our nation.”

Mr. Greenberg had previously been critical of the current political environment, condemning “rising nationalism and populism” in a letter to Chubb shareholders in 2019.

Travelers Cos. Inc. Chairman and CEO Alan Schnitzer, in a message on social media on Wednesday, said the attack on the Capitol was an assault on the principle of the peaceful transition of power.

"In America, we settle our political disagreements with ballots, not with violence. We must never bend to those who traffic in fear and chaos," he said.

Late Wednesday, David Sampson, president and CEO of the American Property Casualty Insurance Association in Washington, issued a statement condemning the violence, which began after President Donald Trump addressed a rally of his supporters.

“On behalf of the U.S. property casualty insurance industry, I am horrified and saddened by the scenes of mob violence in our nation’s capital today. This has no place in America. Words matter, and when leaders call for violence, violence ensues,” he said.

Insurers support the peaceful transition of power, he said.

Earlier in the week, 170 New York business leaders wrote to Congress urging the acceptance of the Electoral College results, which showed President-elect Joe Biden won a clear majority. President Trump and his supporters have for months characterized the presidential election as fraudulent.

Various Republican senators and representatives had previously signaled that they would object to the formal acceptance of Electoral College results by Congress on Wednesday.

The business executives said in the letter that attempts to delay the certification of the electoral vote, which finally took place early Thursday after the Capitol was cleared of protestors, were “counter to the essential tenets of our democracy.” Among those signing the letter were: Brian Duperreault, CEO of American International Group Inc.; Dan Glaser, president and CEO of Marsh & McLennan Cos. Inc.; Philip Ryan, chairman of Swiss Re Americas; and Mr. Schnitzer of Travelers.

The statement continued, “Our duly elected leaders deserve the respect and bipartisan support of all Americans at a moment when we are dealing with the worst health and economic crises in modern history. There should be no further delay in the orderly transfer of power.”