SCOR criticised for timid oil policy

French (re)insurer Scor has come under fire for not going far enough on its new exclusionary underwriting policy towards oil and gas projects.
At its Annual General Meeting (AGM) yesterday, Scor’s CEO Laurent Rousseau took the opportunity to announce its first underwriting exclusions on oil.

However, according to climate change campaign group Insure our Future, while committing to no longer underwrite new oil projects is a good first step, these restrictions fail to cover gas and are thus inconsistent with what’s needed to address the climate emergency.

It claimed that Scor has failed to catch up to its competitors, such as Allianz, Swiss Re and Hannover Re, who have already excluded new oil & gas production projects from their insurance businesses in line with the latest IPCC and IEA conclusions.

At its AGM, SCOR announced the end of coverage for new oilfield projects by 2023. The French reinsurer will make exceptions for oil projects of “companies aligned with Net-Zero by 2050”. The policy does not cover gas fields and Rousseau has promoted gas as a transitional energy, which Insure our Future says is contradicting climate science that we must stop the expansion of all fossil fuels.

Ariel Le Bourdonnec, insurance campaigner at Reclaim Finance said: “SCOR missed a great opportunity today. Scientists and experts from the International Energy Agency have been clear about the harmfulness of gas and the need to end fossil fuel expansion. By allowing gas as well as exceptions for some new oil fields, Scor’s policy does not even go half the distance. We reiterate our call for Scor to address the gap between its timid commitments and scientific imperatives.”

Lindsay Keenan, European coordinator of Insure Our Future added: “Scor has taken an important step at its Annual General Meeting by announcing underwriting exclusions on oil, but it still has a long way to go to bring its policies in line with climate science and the urgent need for a full transition to renewables. Scor’s CEO Laurent Rousseau needs to keep this policy under revision and to update it again as soon as possible.”
In early 2022, Hannover Re and Swiss Re announced that they will no longer cover new upstream oil & gas projects.

More recently, Allianz adopted “even stronger restrictions, setting the new sector standard” according to Insure our Future, which claimed that “these leaders have sent a clear message to the insurance industry: insurers are starting to listen to climate science”.

Scor was a founding member of the Net Zero Insurance Alliance, which has the ambition to align the insurance portfolios of its members with a 1.5°C trajectory by 2050.

Scor did not respond to a request for comment by Emerging Risks on the specific criticism. However, in a statement following the AGM  it said: “Scor has a longstanding commitment to fighting climate change, undertaking numerous actions to help reduce greenhouse gas emissions and facilitate the just transition to a low carbon economy. Supporting clients as they shift their business models in this direction forms part of the group’s contribution to the welfare, resilience and sustainable development of society.”

“A founding member of the Net-Zero Insurance Alliance, Scor continues to adapt its underwriting practices to actively participate in the transition to net zero. Scor believes that reaching net zero can only be achieved by combining climate mitigation and climate adaptation measures, supported by strong engagement with clients and partners, and an active approach to transition.”

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