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Major insurers invest billions in oil and gas companies with activities in North Sea

Since 2019, 15 of the world’s biggest insurers’ invested over 7.9 billion USD in oil and gas companies which have current and/or planned operations in the North Sea, finds research conducted by Profundo and published by The Ferret.

Despite removing coverage and raising premiums for communities on the frontlines of the climate crisis, insurers continue to invest in climate-wrecking oil and gas projects. Insure Our Future calls out the insurers investing in oil and gas companies operating in the North Sea for ignoring the IEA’s findings that “there is no need for investment in new fossil fuel supply in our net zero pathway.”

Lindsay Keenan

European Coordinator for Insure Our Future

"Insurers’ investments of over 7.9 billion dollars in North Sea oil and gas companies reveals their staggering hypocrisy. Global insurers are excluding insurance or increasing premiums for households in climate change affected areas, while simultaneously funding the oil and gas companies that are exacerbating the climate crisis. Insurance companies should not be investing in nor insuring fossil fuel companies that have oil and gas expansion plans or which do not have credible urgent transition plans."

Major insurers Axa, Allianz and Aviva invested a combined $4.6 billion in oil and gas companies with activities in the North Sea in 2021. Further, Allianz, AXA, Munich Re and Zurich are among the biggest insurers of the oil and gas industry, with a combined market share of more than 20%. All of these insurers, as members of the Net Zero Insurance Alliance and Net Zero Asset Owners Alliance, are blatantly contradicting their commitment to a 1.5°C pathway by supporting new oil and gas projects and expansion.

Regine Richter

Energy & Finance Campaigner at Urgewald

"The top insurance funders of North Sea oil and gas - Allianz, Aviva and AXA - cannot continue to profit from climate destruction. Their real climate leadership lies in what they invest and underwrite, not in their climate alliances and rhetoric. AXA, Allianz and Aviva are major investors in the oil and gas companies that operate, or plan to operate, in the North Sea. New oil and gas production is completely incompatible with a 1.5C pathway, and movement away from this climate wrecking industry needs to accelerate beyond the current baby steps."

Just 10 insurers control about 70% of the global oil and gas insurance market. AIG, Travelers, Zurich, Allianz, Chubb and Liberty Mutual could together end more than half the underwriting of the industry. Yet, this data reveals they continue to give a lifeline to the climate-wrecking industry; in 2021, AIG invested $1.7 billion, Travelers invested $479 million and Liberty Mutual invested $435 million in oil and gas companies with activities in the North Sea.

Hannah Saggau

Insurance Campaigner with Public Citizen. 

"AIG is not renewing coverage for more and more California homeowners at risk of climate-driven wildfires, all while the insurer continues to invest billions in companies with oil and gas expansion plans. AIG’s CEO Peter Zaffino says he understands the risks of climate change, but his company continues to support the polluters that drive intensifying wildfires and other climate disasters. Zaffino’s climate hypocrisy is unacceptable."

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