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.