Coal power becoming ‘uninsurable’ as more insurers refuse cover

WNM | Dec 6, 2019 at 12:01 AM

LONDON, December 4 (WNM) – The number of insurers withdrawing cover for coal has more than doubled in 2019 as the industry’s retreat from the sector accelerates and spreads beyond Europe, the Unfriend Coal campaign revealed in its third annual scorecard on insurance, coal and climate change (

The scorecard ranks 30 leading insurers on their action on coal and climate change, assessing and scoring their polices on underwriting, divestment and other aspects of climate leadership. It is based on responses to a survey from 24 of these companies and on publicly available information.

Coal exit policies have been announced by 17 of the world’s biggest insurers controlling 46% of the reinsurance market and 9.5% of the primary insurance market. Most refuse to insure new mines and power plants, while industry leaders have ended cover for existing coal projects and the companies that operate them, and adopted similar policies for tar sands.

Insurers have also divested coal from roughly $8.9 trillion of investments – over one-third (37%) of the industry’s global assets. To date, at least 35 companies have taken action, up from 15 companies with $4 trillion assets under management in 2017 and 19 with $6 trillion in 2018.

The Unfriend Coal-report reveals:

- Underwriting: Swiss Re and Zurich are the leaders in ending coal insurance. They have withdrawn cover from both new and existing projects, as well as the companies operating in these sectors, and have applied similar policies to tar sands.

- Divestment: Swiss Re, SCOR and Zurich lead on divestment. Their policies exclude both coal and tar sands projects and, in the case of SCOR and Zurich, any company that plans new coal projects.

- Climate leadership: Legal & General leads on other aspects of climate leadership. It supports numerous shareholder resolutions calling for climate action and also advocates for industry bodies to address climate change. Aviva, Zurich, Allianz and AXA also score well.