Today, SCOR, the 4th biggest reinsurer in the world, held its Annual General Meeting (AGM) where its CEO Laurent Rousseau took the opportunity to announce SCOR’s first underwriting exclusions on oil. While committing to no longer underwrite new oil projects is a good first step, these restrictions fail to cover gas and are thus inconsistent with what’s needed to address the climate emergency. SCOR has failed to catch up to its competitors, such as Allianz, Swiss Re and Hannover Re, who have already excluded new oil & gas production projects from their insurance businesses in line with the latest IPCC and IEA conclusions.
At its AGM, SCOR announced the end of coverage for new oilfield projects as of 2023 (1). The French reinsurer will make exceptions for oil projects of “companies aligned with Net-Zero by 2050”. The policy does not cover gas fields and SCOR’s CEO, Laurent Rousseau, promoted gas as a transitional energy, contradicting climate science that we must stop the expansion of all fossil fuels.
"SCOR missed a great opportunity today. Scientists and experts from the International Energy Agency have been clear about the harmfulness of gas and the need to end fossil fuel expansion. By allowing gas as well as exceptions for some new oil fields, SCOR’s policy does not even go half the distance. We reiterate our call for SCOR to address the gap between its timid commitments and scientific imperatives."
"SCOR has taken an important step at its Annual General Meeting by announcing underwriting exclusions on oil, but it still has a long way to go to bring its policies in line with climate science and the urgent need for a full transition to renewables. SCOR's CEO Laurent Rousseau needs to keep this policy under revision and to update it again as soon as possible.”
In early 2022, Hannover Re and Swiss Re set a new momentum among reinsurers by announcing that they will no longer re/insure new upstream oil & gas projects. More recently, Allianz adopted even stronger restrictions, setting the new sector standard. These leaders have sent a clear message to the insurance industry: insurers are starting to listen to climate science.
According to a recent Swiss Re study, the cost of natural disasters in 2021 was estimated at around 270 billion dollars and SCOR has been directly impacted by the intensification of these phenomena with costs amounting to 1.5 billion dollars for the French reinsurer, i.e. approximately 10% of its earned insurance premiums in 2021. SCOR urgently needs to address the gap between its timid commitments and ambitious climate commitments from its competitors, and rule out insurance for all new oil and gas projects.
SCOR has been known as a climate concerned insurer for many years and was a founding member of the Net Zero Insurance Alliance with the ambition to align the insurance portfolios of its members with a 1.5°C trajectory by 2050. Achieving this goal requires SCOR to revise its policy as soon as possible.
(1) The commitment was made to shareholders during the May 18th AGM. It also appears in the responses to written questions from Reclaim Finance.