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Allianz takes a step back from coal

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World Coal,

Allianz, the world’s biggest insurance company by assets, announced that it will no longer provide standalone insurance coverage for coal power plants or coal mines. The German insurer also announced that it will ban all companies planning to build more than 500 MW of new coal capacity from its investment portfolio. This bold step reinforces the shift of the insurance industry away from coal and increases the pressure on industry laggards to adopt coal exit policies as well.

Heffa Schuecking, Executive Director of the German environment and human rights organisation Urgewald, says: “The coal industry is the number one driver of climate change, and building new coal plants is incompatible with the goals of the Paris Agreement. We welcome Allianz’s move as an important step towards making the coal industry uninsurable and uninvestable.”

Regine Richter, a finance campaigner with Urgewald, says: “It is significant that the world’s largest insurer has set a target of bringing its coal coverage down to zero. Allianz should however commit to a more ambitious sunset period than 2040.”

Allianz also announced measures to strengthen its coal divestment policy. In addition to companies depending on coal for more than 30% of their business, which it divested from in 2015, the insurer will now also shed its investments in companies which are planning to build more than 500 MW of new coal power capacity. This sets a new standard for the exclusion of coal plant developers. Allianz also announced that it plans to reduce its 30% threshold for the divestment of coal companies to 20% in the coming years.

Lucie Pinson, the European Co-ordinator of the Unfriend Coal campaign, says: “Allianz’s consequential divestment strategy sets a model for other large investors such as Aviva and Prudential. Like other leading insurers, Allianz should, however, include the more than US$1 trillion it manages for third parties in its divestment policy.”

Since 2017, AXA, Zurich, SCOR and now Allianz have decided to stop insuring some or all new coal projects, and Swiss Re has announced that it will adopt such a policy soon. So far, 16 insurers have divested an estimated US$22 billion from coal companies.

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