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World’s Largest Reinsurer Abandons Fossil Fuels

Climate activists looking to cut off the fossil fuel industry’s access to insurance are celebrating: the world’s largest reinsurance company, Munich Re, has announced new restrictions on its coverage of fossil fuel projects. (Reinsurance contracts cover primary insurers to help them spread their risks.)

Oil rig in the desert

From next April, Munich Re will stop providing coverage for new oil and gas fields, new oil transport and storage facilities, and new oil-fired power plants. Munich Re also invests its insurance premiums, according to AP News, and the policy will apply to its investments as well.

“Munich Re’s policy sends a message to the wider insurance industry and to the oil and gas sector that they must act urgently to align their business with climate science,” said Lindsay Keenan, the European coordinator for Insure Our Future - a campaign pressuring insurance companies to stop covering oil, gas, and coal projects in order to accelerate the winding down of fossil fuel production.

Munich Re joins other major reinsurers like Swiss Re and Hannover Re, which have announced similar restrictions on reinsuring oil and some gas projects in the past year. Munich Re’s new policy will not apply to coverage for new gas pipelines, liquefied natural gas plants, or gas-fired power plants.

“We would have wanted to see bolder steps on gas, but at least with this policy the world’s largest reinsurer has now shown that it’s starting to take its own climate warnings seriously,” said Regine Richter, a campaigner at the German nonprofit Urgewald.


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