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US Senate budget committee opens investigation into major insurers


(Reuters) – Democrats on the U.S. Senate Budget Committee launched an investigation on Friday into major insurers including American International Group Inc. and Travelers Cos. Inc., pressing them on their “support” for new fossil fuel projects.

“By underwriting and investing in new and expanded fossil fuel projects, U.S. insurers are helping Big Oil bring us closer to the worst runaway climate scenarios,” the Committee's chairman Senator Sheldon Whitehouse said.

Besides AIG and Travelers, Chubb Ltd., Berkshire Hathaway Inc., Liberty Mutual Insurance Co., Starr Insurance Cos. and State Farm are also under the committee’s scanner.

Some insurers have also started to dial back coverage in areas prone to climate risks such as wildfires, citing increasing costs of claims.

Some insurers have started to dial back coverage in disaster-prone areas, citing increasing costs of claims.

Late last month, State Farm said it would stop selling new insurance policies to homeowners in wildfire-prone California.

The companies did not immediately respond to Reuters' requests for comment.

The insurers were also asked if they have clear policies to obtain consent from indigenous communities before underwriting or investing in projects that disproportionately impact such groups.

Besides Senator Whitehouse, Senators Ron Wyden and Bernie Sanders are part of the group that launched the investigation.

The companies were asked to provide information by June 16 and supporting documents by June 23.