Tags: Climate | Insurance

Some Risks Too Big: Insurers Withdraw from Fossil Projects

Tuesday, 18 October 2022 05:00 PM EDT

BERLIN (AP) — Insurance companies that have long said they'll cover anything, at the right price, are increasingly ruling out fossil fuel projects because of climate change — to cheers from environmental campaigners.

More than a dozen groups that track what policies insurers have on high-emissions activities say the industry is turning its back on oil, gas and coal.

The alliance, Insure Our Future, said Wednesday that 62% of reinsurance companies — which help other insurers spread their risks — have plans to stop covering coal projects, while 38% are now excluding some oil and natural gas projects.

In part, investors are demanding it. But insurers have also begun to make the link between fossil fuel infrastructure, such as mines and pipelines, and the impact that greenhouse gas emissions are having on other parts of their business.

This includes extreme weather events such as hurricanes, which are forecast to become more potent with global warming. Hurricane Ian recently caused tens of billions of dollars in damage in the United States.

Earlier this month Munich Re, one of the world’s biggest reinsurers, said it would stop backing new oil and gas fields beginning next April.

“Insurance is the Achilles heel of the fossil fuel industry and has the power to accelerate the transition to clean energy," said Peter Bosshard, the report's author.

That's because projects that require large amounts of capital are unlikely to attract investment if they can't get insurance to cover potentially costly mishaps.

Insure Our Future said its annual scorecard of 30 companies ranked Allianz, AXA and Axis Capital best for their coal exit policies, while Aviva, Hannover Re and Munich Re came out on top for oil and natural gas.

By contrast, some insurers such as Berkshire Hathaway, Starr and Everest Re have adopted few or no restrictions coal, oil or gas projects, it said. The alliance also criticized Lloyd’s of London for announcing plans for ending coal coverage two years ago but then declaring it optional.

Many of the insurers reviewed introduced their restrictions in the last year, though the exact policies differ significantly, the report said.

Some countries have meanwhile proposed applying the idea of insurance to help countries facing massive costs due to climate change.

Germany, which chairs the Group of Seven leading economies, and the V20 alliance of vulnerable nations, chaired by Ghana, last week agreed to promote the idea of a “global shield” against climate risks.

The proposal, to be discussed at next month's United Nations climate summit in Egypt, partly addresses demands from poor countries for more financial help to cope with the loss and damage resulting from rising global temperatures.

Follow AP’s climate and environment coverage at https://apnews.com/hub/climate-and-environment

© Copyright 2024 The Associated Press. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.


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Insurance companies that have long said they'll cover anything, at the right price, are increasingly ruling out fossil fuel projects because of climate change - to cheers from environmental campaigners.More than a dozen groups that track what policies insurers have on...
Climate,Insurance
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2022-00-18
Tuesday, 18 October 2022 05:00 PM
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