French re/insurers SCOR and AXA have both committed to strengthening their coal exclusion policies in an effort to limit the effects of climate change, according to environmental campaigners at Unfriend Coal.
A representative from the activist group questioned the companies at their annual general meetings this week, who both claimed to have taken steps to limit their coal exposures.
SCOR said that it would no longer provide stand-alone coverage to new coal plants in an update to its 2017 policy, which excluded direct reinsurance for new coal mines and new and existing lignite plants and mines, but not new hard coal plants.
Unfriend Coal noted that, unlike Hannover Re and Munich Re, SCOR has ruled out the possibility of supporting new coal projects in certain countries, and instead joins Swiss Re in excluding all coal plants.
Similarly, AXA committed to apply its 2017 divestment policies to all third-party assets managed by AXA IM by the end of the year, and said it would consider strengthening its exclusion of coal plant developers.
Up to now, AXA’s criterion to exclude companies planning more than 3GW left the insurer free to invest in companies planning 44% of the world new coal pipeline, which Unfriend Coal said was equivalent to the combined capacity of all India and South Africa’s power plants.
However, neither SCOR nor AXA committed to follow Allianz’s 2018 commitment to fully phase out coal underwriting and investment by 2040, in line with climate science and the Paris Agreement climate targets.
Lucie Pinson, said: “AXA and SCOR’s decisions are good news for the climate,” said Lucie Pinson, European coordinator of the Unfriend Coal Campaign and campaign adviser for FoE France.
“SCOR’s commitment sounds a death knell for new coal plants and we hope Allianz will align with AXA’s decision to apply its policy to third party assets,” she continued.
“We would have liked AXA not only to consider strengthening its investment exclusions for companies developing new coal-fired power plants, but also to consider their exclusion on the subscription side.”
Pinson further stated: “Despite progress, both insurers still fail to align with climate science and must do better to meet their mandate as risk managers. The latest IPCC report made crystal clear that all fossil fuels will have to be phased out by mid-century if we want to keep global warming below +1.5 C.
“AXA and SCOR fall short on this necessary action. As global risks managers, they should know that runaway climate change will make development and human life impossible. Time to act accordingly.”