Go to latest

Zurich or Dubai?

Statement by Peter Bosshard at the Global Week of Action, Zurich, February 28, 2024

The fossil fuel industry is destroying our planet. After us the deluge, is their motto!

The expansion of fossil fuel extraction would not be possible without insurance. And whenever we find information about who is insuring coal and oil projects, Zurich is involved:

• The development of new oil projects in the North Sea: insured by Zurich.
• LNG terminals in the USA: Zurich has got them covered.
• Coal mines in the USA: also insured by Zurich.

We estimate Zurich’s coal, oil and gas insurance business to be worth $600 million a year. This puts Zurich in sixth place among all insurance companies worldwide.

Zurich is also the only major European insurer that continues to insure new oil and gas development projects – contradicting climate science and its own PR.

Allianz, AXA, Generali and other large insurance companies no longer do such business. But Zurich puts its profit interest ahead of our interest in a healthy planet – even in a year when they are writing record profits.

As a campaigner who is concerned about the climate catastrophe, I condemn Zurich’s business policy. I also condemn their business policy as a Zurich native who has spent most of my life in this beautiful town.

The city of Zurich takes its responsibility for climate protection seriously. It is committed to becoming climate neutral by 2040, and by 2035 for its own administration. Zurich’s voters have supported these goals with a clear majority of 75 percent.

The Zurich Insurance Group is undermining climate goals of the city from which it borrows its name, and is dragging the good reputation of our community into the mud.

Zurich must immediately stop insuring new oil and gas projects. It must also phase out the insurance of existing coal, oil and gas assets on a timeline that allows us to limit climate change to 1.5°C.

If Zurich is not prepared to do so, it should show its true colors. It should change its name and no longer tarnish the good reputation of our city. The name Dubai or Qatar fits better with an insurance company that puts its fossil fuel business before climate action.

Peter Bosshard coordinates the international Insure Our Future campaign.


Share this article