Insurer AIG steps back from coal, Arctic energy underwriting

The AIG logo is seen at its building in New York's financial district
The AIG logo is seen at its building in New York's financial district March 19, 2015. REUTERS/Brendan McDermid//File Photo

March 1 (Reuters) - U.S. insurer American International Group (AIG.N) said on Tuesday it would no longer provide underwriting services and investments for the construction of any new coal-fired power plants, thermal coal mines or oil sands.

The company also said it would stop providing insurance cover and investments for any new Arctic energy exploration activities.

It also revealed a target of achieving net zero greenhouse gas emissions across its global underwriting and investment portfolios by 2050.

"As one of the last major insurers without restrictions on coal insurance, AIG's new commitments to reduce underwriting for coal, tar sands oil, and Arctic oil and gas are a major step forward for people and the planet," said Hannah Saggau, an insurance campaigner with Public Citizen, an influential consumer advocacy group.

Lloyd's of London (SOLYD.UL) in late 2020 asked its members to stop providing new insurance cover for thermal coal, oil sands, or new Arctic energy exploration from Jan. 1, 2022, with a target date of Jan. 1, 2030 to phase out the renewal of existing cover. read more

European insurers, including AXA and Zurich (ZURN.S), have for long pulled back from underwriting fossil fuels such as coal and oil sands, turning the focus on their U.S. and Asian peers, which have long been viewed as laggards.

Chubb in November set a new goal to achieve carbon neutrality in its global operations by 2022 end through a combination of renewable energy and carbon offset purchases. read more

AIG said on Tuesday it would phase out the underwriting of all existing operation insurance risks and cease new investments in clients that derive 30% or more of their revenues from coal-fired power, thermal coal mines or oil sands, or generate more than 30% of their energy production from coal by Jan. 1, 2030 or sooner.

Reporting by Noor Zainab Hussain in Bengaluru and Carolyn Cohn in London; Editing by Amy Caren Daniel

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