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Insuring Coal No More

The Unfriend Coal campaign calls on insurance companies to stop underwriting and investing in climate-destroying coal projects. This monthly newsletter shares campaign highlights on climate, coal, and the insurance industry.

Pressure increases on Liberty Mutual to ditch coal

Unlike many of its peers, Liberty Mutual has not adopted any policies on coal and tar sands and has not ruled out underwriting the Adani Group’s disastrous Carmichael coal mine project in Australia. Campaigners affiliated with SumofUs, the Rainforest Action Network and Insure Our Future delivered a petition signed by 45,000 people to the insurer’s headquarters in Boston on April 28, asking it to stay away from the Carmichael project and develop a coal and tar sands exit policy.

Liberty Mutual, which also holds more than $9 billion in fossil fuel investments, has so far ignored all efforts by campaign groups to engage in a dialogue on coal, tar sands and climate change. As they delivered their petition, the campaigners vowed that they would intensify the pressure on the company in the coming months

Over three days, Rainforest Action Network and Insure Our Future campaigners subsequently engaged with participants of RIMS 2019, the year’s biggest US insurance conference in Boston. They discussed ideas for further efforts to disengage the US insurance industry from coal and tar sands with insurance representatives, risk managers and other observers. Organizations representing risk management students were particularly interested in working with the campaign to increase pressure on insurers to act on climate change.

Watch this brief video on the Stop Adani petition and enjoy a light-hearted take on how U.S. insurance companies may be missing the biggest risk of all.

Chubb's emissions goals limited in scope

Chubb announced new global greenhouse gas (GHG) emissions goals, aiming to reduce emissions by 20% by 2025 and 40% by 2035. While positive the commitment is very limited in scope, and will need to be complemented with a coal and tar sands exit commitment for insurance services without delay.

 

Insurance AGM round-up on coal

Unfriend Coal campaigners made coal one of the dominant issues at the recent annual general meetings of insurance companies. Here is a brief summary of new policy announcements from the current AGM season:

·        On April 24, AXA announced that it would apply its 2017 divestment policy to all third-party assets managed by AXA IM (but not by AXA AB) by the end of 2019.

·        On April 26, SCOR closed a major loophole by ending stand-alone insurance and facultative reinsurance to any new coal plants worldwide. Unlike Swiss Re it still doesn’t address treaty reinsurance, which is critical for phasing out coal.

·        Munich Re adopted a coal exit policy that allowed for certain exemptions in 2018. At its AGM on April 30, the reinsurer clarified that it had considered three coal projects in the past year but had not reinsured any of them.

·        Clarifying the policy it had adopted in 2018, Generali on May 7 ruled out insurance for all existing coal mines in Poland and said that it had cut ties with two of the six power utilities it had engaged on a coal phase-out. In spite of its 2018 policy, Generali did not stop cover for PGE and CEZ, two active developers of new coal projects.

·        On May 8, Allianz declined to apply its coal policy to assets managed for third parties but said it was "looking into this”, and announced that it aims to make its own investments "climate-neutral" by 2050.

·        Hannover Re announced a new coal exit policy which allowed “a limited number of exceptions” in April. The reinsurer clarified on May 8 that it would make such exceptions only “in extreme cases”, and not for example in the case of new coal projects in Turkey.

·        Like its subsidiary Hannover Re, Talanx adopted a new coal exit policy with serious loopholes in April. On May 9, the insurer made it rather clear that it would continue to offer cover for coal projects in Poland.

·        QBE also announced a new coal exit policy in April. On May 9, the Australian insurer said that the policy was a “living document”, which could still be strengthened, for example, in terms of covering tar sands and other fossil fuels.

Dodgy deal of the month: Turów lignite mine, Poland

Polish utility PGE plans to expand its Turów lignite mine to feed a new power unit through 2044. The mine and power plant expansion is strongly opposed by communities in Poland, the Czech Republic and Germany because of their serious impacts on groundwater and air quality. (The power plant causes an estimated 360 premature deaths per year.)

The Turów mine is currently insured by Generali, Munich Re’s Ergo Hestia and Talanx subsidiary TuIR Warta. Generali confirmed that it will not renew the insurance contract when it expires at the end of 2019. TuIR Warta and Ergo must commit not to renew the contract as well, and other insurers (including Poland’s PZU) must pledge not to fill the gap.    
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Got a news story or campaign action you want us to share? Email Peter Bosshard and we’ll look at including it in our next newsletter. 
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