Aloha held liability insurance policies with Pittsburgh-based AIG unit National Union Fire Insurance Co, which denied coverage based on a pollution exclusion.
The gas chain said that it has incurred more than $880,000 in defense costs related to the climate change lawsuits. It also expects legal expenses to pile up as the litigation progresses.
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In its complaint, Aloha said that the exclusion should not apply, arguing that the policy “specifically provides coverage for ‘product hazard,’ which includes bodily injury or property damage arising out of the named insured’s products.”
The case against the gas chain is of particular interest as there is a scarcity of precedent on whether pollution exclusion covers greenhouse gases that cause global warming, according to Reuters.
The lawsuits brought by the Honolulu and Maui local governments alleged that big oil companies, including Sunoco, Shell, and ExxonMobil, were aware of the climate-related impacts of burning fossil fuels but deliberately hid them from the public.
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The states of Rhode Island, and the cities of New York and Baltimore, along with several cities and counties in California and Colorado, have filed similar cases against oil and gas giants.