NGOs supporting the Insure Our Future Campaign have called on insurers in a letter to take a stand against coal expansion and refuse to insure a new 660MW coal power plant in the Czech Republic.
The Czech state-owned power utility was tendering the insurance contract for its Ledvice III lignite-fired power unit with a deadline of July 9th.
Ledvice threatens the EU capacity to phase out coal within the timeframe necessary to implement the Paris Agreement, and will increase the human toll linked to burning coal. The coal fleet of the Czech Republic emitted 46m tons of CO2 in 2016, or 7% of the EU’s total coal plant emissions. Pollution from the Czech coal fleet is estimated to have caused 1,330 premature deaths in 2015.
The NGO letter, which you can read here, was addressed to chief executive officers of AIG, AXIS Capital, Chubb, Generali, Hannover Re, Liberty Mutual, Lloyd’s, Mapfre, Munich Re, QBE, Scor, Sompo, Tokio Marine, Vienna Insurance Group, W.R. Berkley, XL Catlin and Zurich.
On Monday global advocacy group Avaaz presented a petition to Munich Re, the world’s second biggest reinsurer, at the Global Insurance Forum in Berlin, calling on it to stop insuring and investing in coal and tar sands. It has currently been signed by 779,279 people.
Munich Re declined to comment to Insurance ERM on projects it might be tendering for but said it introduced sustainability criteria for investments a decade ago and had also been investing in renewable energy since 2010. Zurich said the firm had not been directly involved in the construction phase but did not say whether it was bidding for the project.
Five of the world’s biggest insurers – Allianz, AXA, SCOR, Swiss Re and Zurich – have so far limited or ceased their underwriting of coal projects.
The Insure Our Future campaign calls on all insurers to follow these companies’ lead and commit to not underwrite the new Ledvice unit and to cease underwriting coal projects and companies which are unlikely to transition rapidly enough to a 100% renewables-based energy system.