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With VIG, the next coal insurance domino falls

Austria’s Vienna Insurance Group (VIG) is to stop insuring new coal plants and mines, becoming the eighth insurer to announce restrictions on its cover for coal. The new coal policy is available here.

Lucie Pinson

European Coordinator of Insure Our Future

"VIG’s announcement that it will no longer insure new coal plants and mines is welcome and will put pressure on its Austrian rival Uniqa to follow suit. However, its new coal policy has serious flaws and is substantially weaker than those of major insurers such as AXA and Allianz. While some countries such as Italy will be impacted, the policy falls way short of what is needed to phase out coal in Europe by 2030, which is necessary to keep global warming below 1.5°C.

“VIG pledges not to renew insurance for coal mines and plants in countries with plans to phase out coal. However, since it does most of its business in Central and Eastern European countries with no such plans, this commitment is of little value. However, we do welcome its promise not to pick up business from rivals exiting the sector.”

VIG also announced that it would cease investing in companies which derive 50% of revenues from thermal coal mining or thermal coal power. However, most insurers who have committed to divest set a 30% or lower bar and VIG’s weak target fails to exclude some of the world’s biggest coal developers and producers.

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