Insurers’ coal divestment continues

Austrian insurer Vienna Insurance Group (VIG) recently acquired subsidiaries that had interests in the Polish coal sector, but has now decided to distance itself from this, and is now the eight insurer announcing a reduction of its coal business.

With immediate effect, the company will no longer insure “any new coal risk nor any new coal mining or coal power plant construction project”. In countries with a coal exit strategy VIG will also phase out insurance for existing projects and for companies that depend on thermal coal for more than half of its business.

VIG also announced that it would cease investing in (but not divest from) companies which depend on thermal coal for more than half of its business.

“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”, Lucie Pinson, European coordinator of the Unfriend Coal campaign, commented. “However, its new coal policy has serious flaws and is substantially weaker than those of major insurers such as AXA and Allianz, particularly with regards to phasing out cover for existing operations. While some countries such as Italy will be impacted, VIG falls way short of what is needed to phase out coal in Europe by 2030.”

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