Allianz fails to make any progress on coal policies at annual conference
In its annual results media conference on Friday 16th February, Allianz was asked why, despite dramatic climate change, it does not cease underwriting coal and exclude coal companies from its third-party investments.
Many environmental groups have been calling on the company to improve its coal policy in light of its recently exposed coal deals in Poland. Allianz divested from large coal companies for its own assets in 2015 but still insures companies like ZE PAK and PGE, two Polish firms that generate over 90 percent of their electricity from coal and are also planning new coal mines and power plants.
Günther Thallinger, CEO at Allianz Investment Management, said the company is not currently considering further coal exclusions. Instead, they prefer to maintain a dialogue with customers that support coal in order to push environmental performance.
“Allianz’s ESG criteria is clearly too weak to exclude the dirtiest coal companies. If it does not want to fall further behind insurance industry climate pioneers like AXA, it must cease providing insurance to coal companies as soon as possible.
"Allianz is still blind to the contradiction between its ambition to be a climate champion and its support for coal, and its new policies will do little to protect the climate, just dialoguing with companies building new coal plants and mines will do little to protect the climate.”
Referring to natural disasters due to climate change, Allianz’s CEO Oliver Bäte said it would be important for an insurer to “be there before the storm”. Disappointingly, Allianz is still helping to increase the storm worldwide with its coal insurance and investments.
Working as part of the international Insure Our Future campaign, Urgewald campaigns for Allianz and other insurance companies to stop insuring and divest from climate-destroying coal projects. A report from Insure Our Future released this month found that Allianz has insured nine new coal projects in Poland alone since 2013.
AXA has made the industry’s strongest commitments on coal. Along with SCOR and Zurich, it has adopted policies to stop insuring coal projects, and Swiss Re has announced preparation of a similar policy. Fifteen insurers have so far announced plans to divest from coal.