German Insurer Allianz Joins Ever-Growing Corporate Support to Protect the Coastal Plain of the Arctic Refuge

April 29, 2022

For Immediate Release

Fairbanks, AK  – Today the German-based insurance company, Allianz, announced a new policy that prohibits investments and insurance in oil and gas projects in the Arctic. The policy states that as of January 2, 2023, Allianz will not issue new single-site and stand-alone insurance coverage or provide new funding for projects “relating to Arctic (as defined by AMAP13, excluding operations in Norwegian territories),” and pertaining “to both new and existing projects/operations.”

The announcement follows the March 2022 release of the Gwich’in Steering Committee’s scorecard rating the policy of major global insurers to protect the sacred Coastal Plain of the Arctic National Wildlife Refuge from drilling. The addition of Allianz makes a total of 13 international insurers with commitments that clearly articulate not insuring new oil and gas projects in the Refuge, including MAPFRE (Spain), Talanx Group (Germany), SCOR (France), and Zurich (Switzerland) joined early responders AXIS (Bermuda), AXA (France), Hannover Re (Germany), Munich Re (Germany), Swiss Re (Switzerland), and Generali (Italy). Both Suncorp (Australia) and KBC (Belgium) now have policies that preclude all oil and gas projects. 

“We welcome the addition of Allianz to the ever-growing list of international insurance companies with policy that protects Iizhik Gwats’an Gwandaii Goodlit, the Sacred Place Where Life Begins,” said Bernadette Demientieff, Executive Director of the Gwich’in Steering Committee. “Our hope is that American insurance companies will follow this trend sooner rather than later. Climate change that is happening because of fossil fuel projects is impacting the Gwich’in and Indigenous Peoples around the world right now. Our people, animals, land, and resources will continue to be in danger as long as oil and gas drilling is financed and insured. More and more companies understand that drilling on our sacred land is bad for business, and that we will always use our collective strength and voices to protect our rights and our way of life.”

AIG was the first American insurer ranked on the Gwich’in Steering Committee’s scorecard with a new climate-related policy that limits fossil fuel development in the Arctic released earlier this year. Other major U.S. insurers such as Travelers, The Hartford, Chubb, and Liberty Mutual failed to rank and have not responded to multiple queries from the Gwich’in Steering Committee since initial requests were made in 2020

The 1.5 million-acre Coastal Plain is the calving ground of the Porcupine Caribou Herd, on which Gwich’in and other Indigenous communities depend to sustain their people and culture. After decades of advocating and amplifying their collective call for permanent protection of the Coastal Plain, the sacred lands remain under threat from oil and gas development.

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