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Axa XL Forgoes Premiums in Climate Sustainability Move

List includes coal plants, coal mines, oil sands extraction and pipelines.
  • David Pilla
  • January 2019
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To tackle climate change, we must use every lever possible. This means implementing an ambitious strategy everywhere we can.

Thomas Buberl

Axa S.A. said it extended its group's climate policies to a new Axa XL division, a move Axa said will affect more than €100 million (US$112.9 million) in premiums.

The move comes two months after Axa closed on its acquisition of XL Group, with the new division dedicated to large property/casualty commercial lines created from XL implementing Axa's corporate responsibility policies, “including those that relate to the fight against tobacco, climate change and controversial weapons,” Axa said in a statement.

Thomas Buberl, Axa's group chief executive officer, said the move will mean applying underwriting and investment restrictions to a “significant business book.”

Buberl announced the move at the UNEP FI Global Round Table preceding the launch of the 4th Climate Finance Day held in Axa's home base in Paris.

Axa XL “will no longer underwrite the construction and operations of coal plants, coal mines, oil sands extraction and pipelines as well as arctic drilling,” the group said.

Axa said the business affected represents over €100 million of gross written premiums. “Moreover, the new division will apply Axa's investment exclusions policy, constituting of €660 million in divestment,” Axa said.

Axa also announced its support for the UN Principles for Sustainable Insurance's launch of the PSI Climate Ambition Coalition, to be effective in 2019.

“Members of this coalition, when launched, would not only commit to actions on decarbonization and climate resilience in their insurance and investment activities, but also raise their climate ambition, in line with the Paris Agreement,” Axa said.

“To tackle climate change, we must use every lever possible,” said Buberl. “This means implementing an ambitious strategy everywhere we can.”

Earlier this year one of Axa's biggest rivals, Allianz Group, said it would immediately cease providing insurance to single coal-fired plants or coal mines that are either operational or planned.

The move is part of the insurer's effort to phase out the maximum share of coal used by emitters that Allianz finances by lowering the threshold value in the energy sector in 5% increments from the current 30% to zero by 2040. The next adjustment will take place the next within five years, Allianz said at the time.


David Pilla is news editor, BestWeek. He can be reached at

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