Greenpeace: reinsurance industry ensures climate emergency role

Baden-Baden, Germany – 15 Greenpeace activists are peacefully protesting at a key reinsurance meeting in Baden-Baden today to expose their role in the climate emergency. Over half of the global reinsurance market reportedly still provides coverage to insurance companies financially linked to new coal projects.

Coal dominates the power sector, generating 40-41% of the world’s electricity says Carbon Brief and, based on IEA figures, contributing 44% of global energy-related CO2 emissions. A coal project cannot exist without insurance and insurance companies need reinsurance to spread the financial risk. The Baden-Baden Reinsurance Meeting is where the renewal of reinsurance contracts, including those related to coal, are discussed.

“Greenpeace Germany is here today calling on reinsurers to not renew any contracts linked to coal. Over half of reinsurance companies still provide coverage for single coal-fired power plants or coal mines, and continue to have clients that insure power suppliers generating significant proportions of their electricity from coal,” said Adam Pawloff, Climate and Energy Campaigner, Greenpeace Central- and Eastern Europe.

According to Unfriend Coal, by mid-2018 seven reinsurance companies controlling 45% of global reinsurance premiums had reportedly divested some or all of their assets from coal. But the criteria for what these major carriers will or will not insure not only differ from each other, but also allow for the continued underwriting of certain coal risks, including in many cases new-build coal power plants and mines.

Insurance is a key component to a stable economy but these companies remain linked to coal despite 42% of global coal power plants apparently running at a loss. Meanwhile a ClimateWise report has found that the frequency of windstorms, floods, and weather-related catastrophes have increased six-fold since the 1950s. According to Munich Re, total losses through natural catastrophes in 2017 were $320 billion.

“A wise reinsurer would be moving away from insurance companies that are offering or providing coverage to coal projects – new and established – due to the economic and ecological risks attached. There is no insurance on a burnt planet,” said Pawloff.

Continued support of the fossil fuels industry is not only risky due to trends such as damages increasing and regulation change, but it is also unacceptable from the moral perspective. The insurance sector has a responsibility to contribute to the stability of an economy.

Greenpeace demands that reinsurance companies commit to developing or updating climate strategies that include a commitment not to support – through underwriting or investment – the further expansion of fossil fuels. Additionally, in line with the findings of the IPCC special report on 1.5°C, any company not phasing out coal by 2030 in OECD countries and 2040 globally, must be excluded from further activities of any kind – this includes not renewing contracts, when these come to an end.


Media brief available here.

Hi-res photos and video of the action will be added to this link throughout the day


15 Greenpeace Germany activists are demonstrating outside the Baden-Baden Reinsurance Meeting. A burned down house has been constructed and has the appearance of being on fire. This is to symbolize how the planet – our collective home – is on fire due to fossil fuels. The activists are asking the Reinsurance Meeting participants to either help put out the fire or if they wish, add more fuel to fire, which is symbolic of their role in the climate emergency where many provide insurance coverage to insurance companies that are linked to coal.

Media brief available here.

Hi-res photos and video of the action will be added to this link throughout the day


Isis Wiedmann, communications lead in Central and Eastern Europe, in Baden-Baden today

Mobile: +49 176 5386 2544

Skype: isis.wiedmann_gpd

Greenpeace International Press desk hotline: +31 20 718 2470

Greenpeace International Press desk email:

Follow on Twitter @greenpeacepress

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