To add your voice to the petition calling on corporations to end support for the Heartland Institute, click here.
by Brad Johnson, campaign manager of Forecast the Facts
The Association of Bermuda Insurers and Reinsurers (ABIR) and member company XL Group have announced that they will discontinue their support for the Heartland Institute, adding more companies to the list of those rejecting Heartland’s climate change denial. The decision comes in response to Heartland’s short-lived ad campaign that compared people who believe in global warming with serial killers and mass murderers. Association President Bradley Kading communicated the decision to Heartland President Joseph Bast in a letter:
On behalf of the Association of Bermuda Insurers and Reinsurers, we write to disavow any future relationship with your organization. Recent revelations of the Heartland Institute’s radical position on climate change as portrayed on the new billboard featuring Ted Kaczynski made our association with other parts of your organization untenable.
“The letter represents the position of our members,” Kading told Forecast the Facts. ABIR’s membership includes 22 of the world’s largest insurance and reinsurance companies, including erstwhile Heartland funder XL Group. Edward Heffernan, XL Group’s Senior Vice President for International Govermental Relations, confirmed to Forecast the Facts that his company has ceased all support.
According to leaked documents, ABIR and XL Group had provided $160,000 in the past two years to Heartland’s work on insurance issues. Climatewire reports that other insurers are working to end their ties to the Heartland Institute, encouraging Heartland’s insurance expert Eli Lehrer to leave the extremist organization. Lehrer has worked with the insurance industry and environmental organizations including Friends of the Earth, National Wildlife Federation, and the Sierra Club in the Smarter Safer Coalition to reform national flood insurance and the Green Scissors initiative to cut anti-environmental government subsidies.
Forecast the Facts has mobilized more than 20,000 people to call on corporations to pull their support from Heartland. General Motors was the first to respond, ending their twenty-year relationship with Heartland on March 28. They have been followed by AT&T, ABIR, and beverage maker Diageo, whose products include Jose Cuervo, Guinness, and Captain Morgan. In the coming weeks, Forecast the Facts will continue to mobilize its members to push all of Heartland’s corporate donors to immediately pull their support.
“We applaud ABIR and the XL Group for recognizing that supporting Heartland is totally unacceptable for any company that takes climate change seriously,” said Daniel Souweine, Campaign Director for Forecast The Facts, which has launched a petition to ask all corporations to end their support. “Now it’s time for Heartland’s other corporate donors, like State Farm and Microsoft, to come to the same realization.”