Allianz, Generali and VIG prop up Czech coal companies, report finds
April 26, 2021
Insurance companies Allianz, Generali, and Vienna Insurance Group (VIG) continue to insure Czech coal companies despite pledged coal policies. Report by researchers from Re-Set, a Czech civil society organisation, finds that the insurers are underwriting climate-wrecking coal power plants and derailing decarbonisation both in Czech republic and the EU as a whole.
The report, Betting Against Our Future, details how Czech-owned coal firms – EPH, Sev.en Energy and ČEZ – are trying to prolong the operation of coal-based energy infrastructures beyond 2030, gambling on the failure of international climate policy as laid out in the Paris Agreement – with continued assistance from major European insurers.
Allianz, Generali and VIG continue to insure the Czech majority-state-owned energy corporation ČEZ, despite its confirmed plans to continue burning coal until 2050. Allianz is also insuring Sev-en Energy, the operator of, amongst others, the Počerady power plant, which belongs among the dirtiest in Europe. Allianz and Generali have also been confirmed to insure the EPH corporation of the Czech oligarch Daniel Křetínský, who’s subsidiary LEAG is operating the lignite mines and power plants in German Lusatia.
All three insurance companies have recently adopted policies to reduce exposure to coal in their portfolios in which they commit to not insure new coal projects. But this is not enough to ensure compliance with the targets of the Paris climate Agreement, which would in OECD countries necessitate a coal phase out by 2030 at the latest, the report notes.
“Czech coal companies are utterly without scruple when it comes to the climate: not one of them has Paris-compatible plans to phase out coal. Both Sev.en Energy and EPH are keen to buy up dirty assets where more responsible companies have divested from coal. And insurers continue to support them while publicly touting ambitious coal exclusion policies. Allianz, Generali and VIG need to immediately close the loopholes in their policies and cease to do business with companies who fail to produce a credible plan to phase out coal by 2030,” says Josef Patočka, co-author of the report and researcher at Re-set.