Europe’s third largest insurance company turns away from coal

By agency reporter
November 10, 2018

Greenpeace has commented on the Italian insurance company Generali’s announcement about its improved coal exclusion policy, which puts an end to insuring new coal plants and mines, while turning away new clients with more than 30 per cent of their energy production or revenues coming from coal.

Greenpeace Italy climate campaigner, Luca Iacoboni, said: “With its new coal exclusion policy Generali sent an an important signal today: Coal is becoming uninsurable and should make room for the urgent energy transition towards 100 per cent renewable energy. It is not just a matter of securing the survival of our planet, but of the insurance industry as well. Even Moody’s Investor Service warned that climate change has a net negative credit impact on the the re/insurance industry. Re/insurers like AIG, Chubb, Mapfre, Hannover Re-Talanx, Vienna Insurance Group and Uniqa, who are all still actively insuring coal, must get with the times, move away from the dirty fuel or face public scrutiny and economic losses.”

Generali follows Allianz, AXA and Zurich, which all have announced restrictions on insuring coal. Now, Europe’s four biggest primary insurers have limited coverage for the coal industry, thereby supporting the phase-out of the main driver of dangerous climate change and cause of hundreds of thousands of premature deaths globally each year, including more than 22,900 in the EU, according to studies. 

Re:Common campaigner, Alessandro Runci, said: “Days after a UN commissioned report on the devastating effects of climate change, Generali’s new policy is another strong signal to the coal industry. However, Generali fails to mention when existing coal clients, like those in Central and Eastern Europe, will be dropped. In order to become real climate leaders and to address the air pollution problem exacerbated by their clients, they need to quit coal with no exceptions. That includes no life extension of plants in the form of retrofits beyond 2030 and no to retrofits that would even temporarily increase capacity of existing plants.”

According to the European Environmental Agency, member countries incurred economic losses caused by weather and climate-related extremes up to approximately 436 billion euro between 2010 and 2016. EU-wide studies in 2016 estimated projected damages to triple by the 2020s. Air pollution costs the EU €3.3 billion a year, plus a further €40 to €140 billion in indirect costs.

Lucie Pinson with the Unfriend Coal Campaign said: “Generali’s move shows that coal is increasingly becoming uninsurable. The majority of global insurance companies with the expertise to lead in assessing and underwriting new power plants have now committed to end or limit insurance for new coal projects. Recent climate disasters should remind industry laggards of the urgent need for action. The latest IPCC report makes clear that we have to act on an unprecedented scale to phase out coal if we are to meet the 1.5 C global warming target and avoid dangerous climate change.”

Coal is the biggest single source of CO2 emissions. The most recent report from UN’s Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change is loud and clear: To limit the worst climate disasters and irreversible damage, by 2030 coal use needs to drop by two-thirds globally, and completely in Europe.

Greenpeace, Unfriend Coal and Re:Common are calling on the remaining coal insurers around the world to also restrict and exclude coal investments and insurance.

* Re:Common

* Unfriend Coal

* Greenpeace International


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