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QBE to phase out thermal coal exposure in climate action push

2nd April 2019 - Author: Matt Sheehan

Global re/insurer QBE Insurance Group has announced that it plans to stop insuring thermal coal projects as part of its recently implemented climate plan to mitigate the effects of global warming.

Coal Energy PlantCEO Patrick Regan explained that from 1 July 2019, QBE will exclude any new direct insurance services for new construction projects for thermal coal mines, coal power stations, or coal transport infrastructure.

At the latest, by 1 January 2030 QBE will have phased out all direct insurance services for thermal coal customers, except for statutory or compulsory insurance.

The company will, however, continue to invest in and insure metallurgical coal and oil and gas companies.

Regan said that the move would align QBE’s support for the objectives of the international climate agreement developed at the 2015 Paris Conference, which aims to limit global warming to below 2°C.

The decision is also guided by QBE’s Climate Change Action Plan, first published in August 2018, which commits the company to a range of climate actions over 2018-2020 across governance, strategy and risk management.

The move will see QBE join the ranks of 11 other major re/insurers that have restricted their underwriting for coal, including Allianz, AXA, Swiss Re, Munich Re and Zurich.

QBE said that it was “acutely aware” of the risks and opportunities that climate change presents for both its customers and its business.

“We are working closely with our customers in a variety of sectors, and around the world, to support their transition to a lower carbon economy,” said Regan.

“This is consistent with our role to financially protect assets and people, to enable recovery from extreme weather events and other risks, and to support economic activity for the communities in which we operate.”

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