(Reuters) – Australia's QBE Insurance Group Ltd. plans to stop offering new strategies for thermal coal mines and coal power plants to help encourage a low carbon economy and combat climate change.
The country's third largest insurer said it was aiming to liquidate all direct insurance services for thermal coal customers by 2030, but will still invest in and insure metallurgical coal and oil and gas companies.
Fossil fuel disposal has gained momentum in recent years as pension funds, sovereign wealth funds and universities have sold oil, gas and collagen stocks, especially after the 2015 climate agreement in Paris, as an objective to phase out the use of fossil fuels in this century.
Eleven major reinsurance companies including Allianz SE, AXA SA, Swiss Re Ltd., Munich Reinsurance Co. and Zurich Insurance Group Ltd., have limited insurance coverage for coal, according to the Melbourne-based non-governmental organization Market Forces.
"We are acutely aware of the risks and opportunities presented by climate change for our customers and our operations," says QBE in a weekend document.
From July 1
QBE will also target zero direct investment from the thermal coal industry before July 1, while limiting the coal exhibition to half of the total investment funds.
The insurer has restructured its operations after the 2017 record annual loss when Hurricanes swept the Atlantic and earthquakes rattled Mexico, selling their Latin American and some underperforming units.
Thermal coal is mainly used for heat, while metallurgical coal is commonly used to produce steel.
An insurance department of BNP Paribas, France's largest bank, said last month it in No longer would finance power generation companies where a coal fired power accounts for more than 30% installed capacity.