Allianz becomes latest insurer to opt out of Arctic oil and gas

Europe's largest insurer announced the move as part of a broader policy to align its business with global climate goals.

By Simon Jessop, Reuters, Carolyn Cohn, Reuters - May 2, 2022
The logo of insurer Allianz SE is seen on the company building in Puteaux at the financial and business district of La Defense near Paris, outside Paris on May 14, 2018. (Charles Platiau / Reuters File Photo)

LONDON — Europe’s biggest insurer Allianz plans to take a harder line on insuring the oil and gas industry, including new projects in the Arctic, as part of efforts to align its underwriting policies with the world’s climate goal, the company said on Friday.

The move is the latest by a major insurer to curtail insurance to the energy sector, a leading driver of greenhouse gas emissions, and comes as scientists warn of a rapidly closing window to limit the worst effects of global warming.

Other major insurance companies, including AIG and Swiss Re, have already taken similar steps, and those come as many large international banks have said they will cease financing many oil and gas projects, especially in the Arctic. Those announcements drew backlash from some politicians who favor more drilling in the region.

Allianz’s move also follows a report from the International Energy Agency last year which said no more investment was needed in new oil and gas fields if the target was to be met.

With pressure growing to accelerate corporate efforts to rein in emissions, Allianz said from the start of 2023, it would no longer issue new property and casualty insurance to fund new oil and gas projects, and stop renewing existing contracts from July 2023.

The new exclusions would cover exploration and development of new oil and gas fields; construction of new mid-stream oil infrastructure; construction of new oil power plants; and those linked to projects in the Arctic, Antarctic or coal-bed methane, extra-heavy oil and oil sands, as well as ultra-deep sea fields.

[Insurance giant AIG joins movement against financing Arctic oil development]

“With these new guidelines, Allianz is strengthening its promise to contribute to an orderly decarbonization of the economy,” said Allianz board member Günther Thallinger.

As of January 2025, Allianz said it would only insure oil and gas companies which were on a science-based pathway to net-zero emissions by 2050, including the major oil companies responsible for the lion’s share of emissions.

Starting at the same time, Allianz also said it would provide no insurance, facultative reinsurance, or reinsurance for a single risk or defined package of risks, or funding to companies which get more than 10 percent of their revenue from oil sands, after previously setting the threshold at 20 percent.

NGO Insure our Future said it welcomed the move by Allianz, “which raises the bar for the insurance industry” and called on others in the sector to follow suit.

Allianz is the 10th major insurance company to adopt oil and gas restrictions, it said, and there was “real momentum now for all insurance companies to adopt oil and gas policies that align with the climate science.”

Among others to have tightened their policies in recent months are Swiss Re, the world’s second-biggest reinsurer, which said it March it would no longer insure most new oil and gas projects.