Home > Suncorp out of oil and gas drilling, leaving QBE isolated

Suncorp out of oil and gas drilling, leaving QBE isolated

21 August 2020

21 August 2020

Suncorp has sent a clear message that it will not be a part of the Federal Government’s gas expansion plans, with an updated policy released today that bans the company from investing in, financing and insuring new and additional oil and gas exploration and production.

In 2020, we strengthened our Fossil Fuels Sensitive Sector
Guideline to cease underwriting, financing or directly investing
in new oil and gas projects, phase out underwriting and
financing oil and gas by 2025, and directly investing by 2040.

Suncorp Responsible Business Report 2019-20

Suncorp first released its Fossil Fuels Guideline in 2019 with a ban on financing, investing in and underwriting new thermal coal mining and coal-fired electricity generation, and a phase out of all thermal coal exposure by 2025. This guideline has now been broadened to include a phase-out of oil and gas exploration and production underwriting exposure by the same date, and a staged reduction of direct investment in oil and gas production companies, based on the emissions intensity of the producer, reaching full phase-out in 2040.

There are significant gaps in Suncorp’s new policy. It doesn’t mention oil and gas pipelines nor gas-fired power stations. Since the use of these also need to be rapidly phased out in order to limit global warming to 1.5 degrees, any company wanting to align its business with the climate goals of the Paris Agreement must set gas pipeline and gas-burning power station phase-out dates. Despite these gaps, Suncorp’s acknowledgement that oil and gas production and exploration cannot expand if we’re to deal with the climate crisis puts it ahead of most other major insurance companies.

Suncorp’s move leaves QBE isolated as the only Australia-based major insurer without a policy restricting oil and gas investing and underwriting. QBE’s continued willingness to invest in and insure climate-destroying oil and gas projects is not only a major reputational risk, but it also makes little business sense. The insurance industry is reeling from ever-worsening storms, droughts, floods and bushfires fuelled by global warming. Insurers including Suncorp and QBE are consistently under-estimating the cost of claims they face due to “natural” disasters, and yet QBE continues to shoot itself in the foot by insuring the industries contributing the most to the crisis.

QBE, like Suncorp, announced an end to underwriting new thermal coal projects in 2019. It should now broaden this restriction to oil and gas projects.

Take action. Fill out the form below to email QBE and demand it aligns its business with the Paris Agreement by ending its support for oil and gas.