It is no surprise that the industry, prompted by progressive political and environmental activists and industry regulators has taken action and encouraged some of the major polluting industries to transform their processes so that they produce lower or no greenhouse gas emissions.
Although the topic of global warming sparks many controversies in the world’s media, political circles and everyday discussions, few people would deny that the climate patterns have recently been changing, bringing about an increasing number of natural catastrophes. Published in August 2021, the Sixth Assessment Report of the UN-backed Intergovernmental Panel of on Climate Change shows alarming trends affecting the global economy and the well-being of the world’s population.
Amongst those most affected is the financial services industry, such as equity investors, lenders and insurers. It is no surprise that the industry, prompted by progressive political and environmental activists and industry regulators has taken action and encouraged some of the major polluting industries to transform their processes so that they produce lower or no greenhouse gas emissions. This step has often taken an extreme form of providing reduced access – or no access at all – to risk capital, effectively cutting the worst offenders from access to equity and debt financing, and to insurance.
In many cases these policies prohibit the financing of the very projects that are aimed at transformation towards greener technologies, such as the development of renewable energy sources by incumbent thermal coal-fired power producers. Whether this dogmatic and inflexible approach will contribute to reaching desired goals or prove itself to be counterproductive, remains to be seen. The seemingly unlimited capital resources available worldwide may be channelled to new players and technologies on the power utility scene, effectively pushing the incumbents into extinction. It is worth noting that all these woes do not only befall coal- fired power producers. Next in line are gas-fired power plant owners and operators as well as industries such as oil and gas, cement, steel, transport and others that contribute to greenhouse gas emissions.
Fate of the incumbent power suppliers
Although we cannot foresee which different scenarios the future may unveil, we believe that it is still possible to arrange insurance coverage for operations that produce power from fossil fuels, including thermal coal. However, increasingly this requires careful planning, a flexible and realistic approach to the scope of cover and, finally, competent execution. Companies need not (and often cannot) go this route alone. An insurance and risk consultant can help you through the transformation process despite the pressure from activists and other key stakeholders.
Tips for your risks
The first focuses on infrastructure (office buildings, car parks) and digitisation (less office space and business travels, working from home, which may enhance social governance as well). The second will result in huge support for innovation projects and green measures taken by both public and private business as insurers have to invest their reserves to be able to pay future claims. The decision where to place this money has to be driven by security aspects (for this reason there is a relatively big share of public investment) and with a long-time perspective in mind.
Insureds facing an ever more difficult market environment that is likely to remain challenging in the years to come should accept the reality and maximise their efforts to prepare themselves and their companies for the future.
A competent, experienced and dedicated insurance broker and risk management consultant can assist in achieving the risk financing goals required by owners, lenders, government authorities, clients, and other key stakeholders whose well-being and prosperity depends on the successful operation and resilience of the business in question.
Practice Leader Power & Renewables Division
T +48 507 085 066
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