Munich Re tightens oil and gas policies

Illustration shows a smartphone with displayed Munich Re Group logo and stock graph
Munich Re Group logo is seen on a smartphone in front of displayed stock graph in this illustration taken, December 1, 2021. REUTERS/Dado Ruvic/Illustration/File Photo

FRANKFURT, Oct 6 (Reuters) - Munich Re , the world's largest reinsurer, on Thursday announced stricter policies for investing in and underwriting oil and gas projects, drawing praise from environmental activists.

The German reinsurer said on its website that as of April 2023 it would not invest or insure projects involving new oil and gas fields or new midstream oil infrastructure.

Insurers have over the past few years tightened underwriting and investment policies to exclude some polluting industries from their business, but they have at times fallen short of activists' demands.

More stringent policies have tended to focus primarily on coal, while oil and gas policies have lagged.

The Insure Our Future campaign said Munich Re's move was "a significant step and a clear signal to the global insurance market".

Munich Re also said it would not insure or invest in new oil-fired power plants.

Climate activists fear that insurers have been enabling polluting industries like coal and oil, while insurers have advocated a more moderate transition in step with a changing industry.

Regine Richter, an activist with Urgewald, said she would have liked to see "bolder steps on gas".

"But at least with this policy [Munich Re] has now shown that it's starting to take its own climate warnings seriously," she said.

Reporting by Tom Sims, Editing by Miranda Murray and Mark Potter

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