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    SREN   CH0126881561

SWISS RE LTD

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REUTERS NEXT-With sponges and petitions, climate activists take on insurers

11/26/2021 | 01:00am EST

* Activist calls on insurers to sue big oil companies

* The latest volley in ongoing climate campaign

* Munich Re, Swiss Re CEOs push for gradual transformation

* The current debate is too shallow - Hannover Re CEO

FRANKFURT, Nov 26 (Reuters) - A prominent activist is calling on insurers like Swiss Re to explore suing major oil companies for climate-related damages, the latest volley in a years-long campaign that pits environmentalists against the insurance industry.

The tactic urged by The Sunrise Project https://sunriseproject.org/about, which has not previously been reported, faces an uphill battle.

Swiss Re Chief Executive Officer Christian Mumenthaler, in an interview at the upcoming Reuters Next conference, advocated a gradual path of decarbonisation and said such lawsuits "would not be compatible, I think, with our philosophy."

Munich Re CEO Joachim Wenning, in a separate Reuters Next interview, also dismissed the idea.

The latest standoff is typical of the ongoing tug-of-war: Climate activists fear that insurers are enabling polluting industries like coal and oil, while insurers advocate a more moderate transition in step with a changing industry.

Insurers Swiss Re, Munich Re, Hannover Re and others have over the past few years tightened underwriting and investment policies to exclude some polluting industries from their business, but they fall short of activists' demands.

More stringent policies have focused primarily on coal, while oil and gas policies have lagged.

"They should pull out all the stops," said Peter Bosshard, director of finance at Sunrise. "Our role is to push the envelope."

Bosshard said Swiss Re would be well positioned to take the lead in lawsuits against the oil industry, mimicking a strategy by San Francisco and New York https://www.reuters.com/article/us-usa-municipals-fossilfuels-idUSKBN1EZ2Q2.

The International Association of Oil & Gas Producers did not respond to a request for comment.

On his first day on the job in 2019, Hannover Re CEO Jean-Jacques Henchoz received a blue sponge and dustpan from climate activist group Urgewald, which urged him to clean up the company's act on coal, according to Urgewald campaigner Regine Richter.

Munich Re's CEO, at his first annual general meeting in 2018, faced protesters with signs like "Stop Coal Now!" and a petition of 6,000 signatures.

Both Hannover Re and Munich Re are increasingly turning their backs on coal-related insurance business, but in the eyes of activists, it is not enough and too slow.

Hannover Re's Henchoz said if insurers were to sever ties quickly with polluting industries, unemployment would rise and taxpayers would have to pick up the pieces.

"The current debate is too shallow, and we need to accept that changes in energy mix and technologies will take some time," he said. Massive investments will be required, and reinsurers should support the transition, he said.

Munich Re's Wenning said activists are an "important dynamic," influencing the public and investors, but that their focus of "stopping to do something" was misplaced.

"We need to transform and push the whole industries towards becoming green and not just stopping activity," he said.

To watch the ReutersNext conference please register here https://reutersevents.com/events/next/

(Reporting by Tom Sims; Editing by Richard Chang)


ę Reuters 2021
Stocks mentioned in the article
ChangeLast1st jan.
HANNOVER RÜCK SE 2.19% 177.05 Delayed Quote.3.65%
MUNICH RE 2.84% 280.2 Delayed Quote.4.59%
SWISS RE LTD 1.05% 101.5 Delayed Quote.11.29%
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Analyst Recommendations on SWISS RE LTD
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Financials (USD)
Sales 2021 41 780 M - -
Net income 2021 1 864 M - -
Net Debt 2021 - - -
P/E ratio 2021 17,0x
Yield 2021 6,08%
Capitalization 31 738 M 31 503 M -
Capi. / Sales 2021 0,76x
Capi. / Sales 2022 0,74x
Nbr of Employees 13 605
Free-Float -
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Swiss Re Ltd Technical Analysis Chart | SREN | CH0126881561 | MarketScreener
Technical analysis trends SWISS RE LTD
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Mean consensus OUTPERFORM
Number of Analysts 17
Last Close Price 108,69 $
Average target price 107,89 $
Spread / Average Target -0,74%
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Managers and Directors
Christian Mumenthaler Group Chief Executive Officer
John Robert Dacey Group Chief Financial Officer
Sergio P. Ermotti Independent Non-Executive Chairman
Pravina Ladva Digital Transformation Officer
Guido FŘrer Group Chief Investment Officer
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