Major insurers ditch controversial coal mine project

Insurers include two Australian giants

Major insurers ditch controversial coal mine project

Insurance News

By Mina Martin

Australian insurance giants QBE and Suncorp have pledged not to provide support for Adani Group’s Carmichael coal mine in Australia, according to the Unfriend Coal campaign.

Other major insurers that have explicitly refused to insure the US$1.5 billion project or previously pledged not to provide cover for new coal projects include Allianz, AXA, Swiss Re, Munich Re, FM Global, Generali, Zurich, and SCOR.

This was in response to an open letter sent to insurers by a coalition of 73 organisations, including Market Forces and the Unfriend Coal campaign, urging them to refrain from insuring the Carmichael coal mine in the light of its climate, environmental, and social impacts.

Adani’s failure to secure private financial backing for the controversial Carmichael mine and rail project forced the Indian company to announce last month that it would finance the project on its own – a move that put insurers in the spotlight as the project cannot be built or operated without insurance, said Julien Vincent, executive director of Market Forces.

“Those who have yet to commit must ask themselves, do they really want to be the company that opens up one of the world’s biggest coal basins in the middle of a climate crisis?” Vincent said.

So far, Lloyd’s, Beazley, Hannover Re, and Starr have not committed to refusing Adani insurance, though Lloyd’s, Beazley, and Starr did note that they are not currently involved in the project.

Sixteen insurers with no policies on coal insurance have yet to respond: AIG, Axis Capital, Berkshire Hathaway, Great American Insurance, Liberty Mutual, Markel Corporation, WR Berkley, Canopius, Chaucer, CNA Hardy, Chubb, Hamilton Insurance Group, HDI, Mapfre, Sompo, and Tokio Marine.

“The giant Carmichael coal mine is a test case that demonstrates clearly whether insurers care about managing climate risk or are more interested in profiting from climate chaos,” said Lucie Pinson, European coordinator of the Unfriend Coal campaign. “Companies that are unwilling to rule out insuring this disastrous project are threatening the future of our climate, the unique environment of the Barrier Reef, and the wellbeing of local people.”

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