Giant German reinsurer drops coal business risks, investments

The world’s biggest reinsurer, Munich Re, said on Monday it planned to halt investing in coal businesses and insuring new coal-fired plants that threaten to damage the world’s climate in the wake of pressure from environmentalists.

“In the individual risk business, where we can see the risks exactly, we will in future in principle no longer insure new coal-fired power plants or mines in industrial countries,” Munich Re chief executive Joachim Wenning wrote in a commentary in the German daily Frankfurter Allgemeine Zeitng.

Wenning also said the German-based group planned to abandon investing in bonds and shares of companies which generate more than 30 per cent of their sales with coal-related businesses.

Environmental groups have recently stepped up their pressure on insurance companies such as Munich Re to stop insuring coal-fired power plants.

Wenning’s announcement means that Munich Re is following the example set by its rival Swiss Re and Europe’s biggest insurer Allianz in withdrawing from the coal business in the interests of protecting the global climate.

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