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Climate crisis: under pressure from American conservatives, the alliance of climate insurers is shattered

Climate crisis: under pressure from American conservatives, the alliance of climate insurers is shattered

The Global Zero Carbon Insurers Alliance (NZIA) is in trouble. Three founding members, the reinsurer Scor and the giants Axa and Allianz announced their departure on Thursday, May 25, in a context of conservative pressure in the United States. This alliance was created in July 2021 under the aegis of the UN. The role of insurers is central in the exploitation of fossil fuels, the main cause of global warming: coal, oil and gas companies need their service to insure their projects.

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The leading French insurer, Axa, “will continue its individual journey in terms of sustainable development, as an insurer, investor and responsible company”specifies a press release, while Allianz indicated that it would keep its climate objectives “unchanged”. Earlier in the day, Thierry Léger, CEO of Scor since May 1, also announced the departure of the alliance before the shareholders gathered at a general meeting. “We have today decided to leave NZIA. This does not change our commitments or our roadmap” in the fight against global warming, he said.

An offensive by Republican prosecutors in the United States

A little earlier in the week, it was Swiss Re who had slammed the door of this alliance. Three other European heavyweights had preceded them in recent months by announcing their departure: Munich Re, Hannover Re and the insurer Zurich. In the wake of these new defections, the French Matmut also announced his departure. Neither Axa, nor Allianz, nor Scor detailed the reasons for these departures, but at the end of March, Munich Re had mentioned the risks of impeding free competition inherent in this type of alliance.

“Every company is free to join or withdraw from the NZIA at any time and for any reason”said the NZIA on Wednesday in a press release recording the departure of some of its members, “especially those with significant business and exposure to the United States”. A week ago, twenty Republican state prosecutors in the United States sent a letter of criticism to the alliance. For the largest members, present in the United States, remaining in the alliance therefore involves a legal risk, with years of procedures.

Insurers “must fight against climate denial, not give in to it”

“As the Net Zero Insurance Alliance disintegrates before our eyes, we must ask ourselves why these large companies, with their hordes of lawyers, did not see antitrust issues as a major obstacle when they founded the alliance. “reacted Patrick McCully, energy transition analyst for the NGO Reclaim Finance. “True climate leaders must fight climate denial, not give in to it. What is crucial today is that insurers do not back down on their climate commitments”he added.

With around thirty members until recently, the NZIA was founded by Axa, Allianz, Aviva, Generali, Scor, Swiss Re and Zurich Insurance Group. Its members, including the French Matmut and Crédit Agricole Assurances, have agreed to set criteria for the acceptability of the most emitting industries in their customer portfolios in line with the objective of carbon neutrality by 2050. , the resigning members of the alliance insisted on the continuity of their commitments in favor of the climate.

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