Reinsurer SCOR tightens oil sector cover over carbon emissions

* SCOR to stop reinsuring most new oil projects from 2023

* Plans to double coverage of low-carbon energies by 2025

* NGOs say SCOR policy is not as ambitious as competitors

By Simon Jessop and Tassilo Hummel

LONDON, May 18 (Reuters) - SCOR SCOR.PA , the world's fourth-biggest reinsurer, said on Wednesday it would stop covering new oil field production projects from 2023 unless the company involved had an acceptable plan to reach net-zero emissions by mid-century.

The move is the latest by a leading insurer to impose tighter policy conditions on coverage for the oil and gas sector, the main driver of man-made greenhouse gas emissions, as scientists warn faster action is needed on climate change.

It also follows an International Energy Agency (IEA) report last year which said expansion of the oil and gas industry needed to cease if the world wanted to cap global warming at 1.5 degrees Celsius above the pre-industrial average.

SCOR said in a statement accompanying results of the French company's annual general meeting that it aimed to double the amount of insurance coverage for low-carbon energies by 2025.

"SCOR believes that reaching net zero can only be achieved by combining climate mitigation and climate adaptation measures, supported by strong engagement with clients and partners, and an active approach to transition," it said.

The move came as the U.N. Secretary-General called for a global coalition to hasten the shift to renewables.

Climate campaigners said SCOR had not gone far enough, calling for more action to bring it into line with the more ambitious plans of other insurers such as Allianz ALVG.DE , which in April issued a broader set of exclusions.

"By allowing gas as well as exceptions for some new oil fields, SCOR's policy does not even go half the distance," said Ariel Le Bourdonnec, Insurance Campaigner of Reclaim Finance.

In response to the criticism, a SCOR spokesperson reiterated the company's commitment to supporting the needs of the economy as it transitions.

“Our goal is to support the transition to a low-carbon economy by combining pragmatism and ambition. Modifying an underwriting strategy is a process that requires in-depth analysis in advance and takes time.”
Reporting by Simon Jessop; Editing by Alexander Smith, Kirsten Donovan

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