By Dieter Holger

 

Global insurance company Axis Capital Holdings Ltd. won't insure any new oil-and-gas drilling in the Arctic Wildlife Refuge, joining other insurers that have taken a stance against underwriting fossil fuels in the region.

"We can confirm that AXIS will not underwrite new insurance or facultative reinsurance contracts, or provide investment support, for projects covering the exploration, production or transportation of oil and gas in the Arctic National Wildlife Refuge," said Conrad Brooks, the insurer's general counsel, in a letter dated Jan. 11 to the Gwich'in Steering Committee, a nonprofit that represents the Gwich'in indigenous people of the Arctic.

An Axis spokesperson confirmed in an email that the letter, which was released by the Gwich'in Steering Committee, was authentic, but declined to provide additional comment. Axis reported $26.5 billion in assets in the third quarter of 2020.

Mr. Brooks said that Axis would publish an updated policy this year "that will reinforce this commitment and consider a range of factors including wider Arctic energy exploration activities. This policy will be an extension of our existing policy to limit thermal coal and oil sands underwriting and investment."

Axis's move follows insurance companies AXA SA and Swiss Re Ltd.'s decision to rule out underwriting Arctic drilling. More than two dozen banks, including Citigroup Inc., Goldman Sachs Group Inc. and Deutsche Bank AG, have policies against investing in Arctic oil-and-gas, according to the nonprofit BankTrack.

The Gwich'in Steering Committee said it would continue to pressure more insurance companies to pull out of the Arctic, including Liberty Mutual Group and American International Group Inc.

Liberty Mutual and AIG didn't immediately respond to requests for comment.

 

Write to Dieter Holger at dieter.holger@wsj.com; @dieterholger

 

(END) Dow Jones Newswires

January 15, 2021 13:10 ET (18:10 GMT)

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