Which Insurers Lead Industry Retreat from Coal
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Which Insurers Lead Industry Retreat from Coal

More re/insurers are cutting their involvement in the coal industry through underwriting and investing, according to the Insure Our Future campaign.


More insurers are cutting their involvement in the coal industry through underwriting and investing, according to the Insure Our Future campaign. The lobby group’s fourth annual scorecard report says that insurers’ climate policies still fall short of what is needed to drive action to meet international climate targets, however.

Since the Insure Our Future campaign launched in 2017, at least 23 insurance companies have ended or limited their cover for coal projects, representing 12.9% of the primary insurance market and 48.3% of the reinsurance market, according to the report.

Insurers are also divesting from coal: at least 65 insurers with combined investments worth $12 trillion have either adopted a divestment policy or committed to making no new coal investments, up from $4 trillion in 2017.

Most European and Australian insurers no longer provide cover for new coal projects, while others are becoming more cautious and restricting capacity, the report notes. Controversial projects like the Adani Group’s planned Carmichael coal mine in Australia are finding it hard to obtain insurance cover at all.

The scorecard, which is based on responses to a survey from 20 companies and on publicly available information, ranks 30 leading insurers by scoring their policies on underwriting and investing in fossil fuels:

  • AXA and Swiss Re are the leaders in ending fossil fuel insurance, followed by Hannover Re, Zurich and Munich Re. Most of their policies address both coal and tar sands. However, AIG, Berkshire Hathaway, Lloyd’s, Sinosure, Travelers and W.R. Berkley underwrite coal without any restrictions.

  • SCOR and AXA lead on divestment followed by Swiss Re, Allianz and Zurich. All but Allianz cover tar sands as well as coal, and some exclude investments in any company that plans new projects. Sixteen other insurance companies assessed have less comprehensive coal divestment policies and only nine continue to invest in the coal sector.

  • Legal & General achieved the highest score for other climate leadership – which focuses on insurers’ commitments to align their businesses with a 1.5 °C pathway. Aviva, Zurich, Munich Re, QBE and AXA also score well. Thirteen insurers, including all 10 U.S. companies, received negative scores because they continue to support organisations lobbying against climate action. 

Check out the full report here.

This story was originally published in Reactions.