Insurance company restrictions on oil and gas are finally starting to catch up with those on coal

According to a new data report from the Insure Our Future campaign, insurance company restrictions on oil and gas are finally starting to catch up with those on coal, with 62% of reinsurers having coal exit policies and 38% now having oil and gas exclusions.

The data is drawn from Insure Our Future’s annual scorecard, which ranks the top 30 global fossil fuel insurers on the quality of their fossil fuel exclusion policies.

At the time of last year’s COP, only Suncorp, Generali and AXA had adopted any restrictions on the insurance of conventional oil and gas projects.

However, in the past year, Allianz, Aviva, Fidelis, Hannover Re, KBC, Mapfre, Munich Re, SCOR, Swiss Re and Zurich have all followed suit, bringing the total number of policies to 13.

As a result, the market share of insurers with oil and gas restrictions has grown from 3% to 38% among reinsurers, says the report, and from 5% to 15% among primary insurers.

It also adds that 18 insurers have ruled out support for Canada’s Trans Mountain pipeline and 16 pledged not to get involved in the East African Crude Oil Pipeline.

This year, Allianz, AXA and Axis Capital rank best for their coal exit policies, while Aviva, Hannover Re and Munich Re come out on top for their oil and gas exclusions.

At the bottom of fossil fuel rankings are a group of insurers which have yet to adopt any restrictions on providing cover to coal, oil or gas projects, which includes US insurers Berkshire Hathaway, Starr, and Bermudian carrier Everest Re.

Lloyd’s of London also scores very poorly, having announced a coal exit framework in 2020 but then backtracked by declaring it optional.

Liberty Mutual, Chubb and Tokio Marine have adopted some restrictions on coal, says the report, but actively insure the expansion of the oil and gas industry.

Chinese insurers PICC and Sinosure have not adopted any fossil fuel restrictions but, following Chinese government policy, will no longer cover new coal power plants overseas.

Insurance is the Achilles heel of the fossil fuel industry and has the power to accelerate the transition to clean energy. All insurance companies must immediately align their businesses with the 1.5C goal of the Paris Agreement and cease insuring new coal, oil and gas projects.

Peter Bosshard, global coordinator of the Insure Our Future campaign

Munich Re, Swiss Re and Allianz adopted ambitious policies with commitments to stop insuring most or all new oil and gas production projects.

It also notes that while the number of oil and gas restrictions is growing, the quality is very uneven, with Aviva and Hannover Re having the strongest policies, yet are not major actors in the oil and gas sector.

In contrast, AXA and Zurich, which the report suggests are both major oil and gas insurers, took only minor steps with commitments to end insurance for oil exploration, but not for new oil production or for gas exploration or production.

Meanwhile, major fossil fuel insurers like AIG, Chubb, Lloyd’s and Tokio Marine have not yet adopted any restrictions on conventional oil and gas.

by Nataly Kramer