Despite the increasing push across the insurance industry for carriers to divest and/or withdraw coverage of coal ventures, European insurers are ahead of U.S.-based carriers when it comes to such climate change initiatives, according to “Insuring Coal No More,” the third-annual scorecard and report on insurance and climate change produced by a conglomerate of international environmental organizations dubbed Insure Our Future.
Coal is the single biggest contributor to global warming, which is linked to extreme weather events and wildfires, according to the Union of Concerned Scientists.
“As global actors, U.S. insurance companies have a huge role to play in curbing the worst impacts of climate change,” Lindsey Allen, executive director of Rainforest Action Network, said in a statement about the report released December 2, 2019. ”We are encouraged by initial leadership this year from Chubb and AXIS Capital, but the U.S. industry is still so far behind Europe.”
Coal exit policies have been announced by 17 of the world’s biggest insurers, which control 46% of the global reinsurance market and 9.5% of the primary insurance market, according to the report. The number of insurance companies divesting from coal increased in 2019. At least 35 companies with combined assets of roughly $8.9 trillion — 37% of the industry’s global assets — have now adopted coal divestment policies. This is up from 15 companies with $4 trillion assets under management in 2017 and 19 with $6 trillion in 2018.
“The industry’s retreat from coal is gathering pace as public pressure on the fossil fuel industry and its supporters grows,” said Peter Bosshard, coordinator of the Unfriend Coal campaign and author of the report. “However, major U.S. and Asian insurers continue to undermine international climate targets by insuring and investing in coal projects.”
The slideshow above depicts the 10 major U.S.-based insurers that are taking the lead in climate change initiatives, according to the report. The scorecard ranks 30 leading insurers on their action on coal and climate change, assessing and scoring their policies on underwriting, divestment and other aspects of climate leadership. It is based on responses to a survey that 24 of the 30 companies filled out, as well as publicly available information. Click here to view the full report.
The complete scoring grid from “Insuring Coal No More: The 2019 Scorecard on Insurance, Coal and Climate Change,” follows…