Non-for-profit initiative, Unfriend Coal says that by mid-2018 seven reinsurance companies controlling 45% of global reinsurance premiums had reportedly divested 

Environmental protestors have targeted reinsurers today as they used a burning building to call for action at the annual Baden Baden meeting in Germany.

The house which was designed to look to be ablaze was placed at the entrance to the town conference centre to highlight calls for reinsurers to refuse to underwrite coal power projects around the globe.

Greenpeace said the house and 15 demonstrators were there to symbolise “how the planet - our collective home - is on fire due to fossil fuels”.

“Greenpeace Germany is here today calling on reinsurers to not renew any contracts linked to coal. Over half of reinsurance companies still provide coverage for single coal-fired power plants or coal mines and continue to have clients that insure power suppliers generating significant proportions of their electricity from coal,” said Adam Pawloff, climate and energy campaigner, Greenpeace Central and Eastern Europe.

“A wise reinsurer would be moving away from insurance companies that are offering or providing coverage to coal projects - new and established - due to the economic and ecological risks attached. There is no insurance on a burnt planet,” he added. 

It follows Extinction Rebellion targeting the insurers at the Walkie Talkie building in London last Tuesday by dressing as yellow canaries and gluing themselves to the doors. 

Divesting assets 

The event in Baden Baden has traditionally been where the reinsurance renewal discussions and contracts have been finalised and as such Greenpeace said it was the moment when the reinsurance industry decided whether it would help or hinder the fight against global warming and the “climate emergency”.

According to Unfriend Coal, by mid-2018 seven reinsurance companies controlling 45% of global reinsurance premiums had reportedly divested some or all of their assets from coal.

“But the criteria for what these major carriers will or will not insure not only differ from each other, but also allow for the continued underwriting of certain coal risks, including in many cases new-build coal power plants and mines,” it added.