Dutch insurers invest nearly € 7 billion in controversial arms trade

Thursday, June 18, 2015

As many as eight of the ten largest life insurers invested a total of 6.8 billion Euros in 15 companies that delivered weapons and military goods to dictatorships and corrupt countries, such as Saudi Arabia, Nigeria and Bahrain. This is the main conclusion of research by the Fair Insurance Guide into insurers active on the Dutch market. A poll among the Dutch population shows that 66% of respondents find this unacceptable and that 81% of this group would be willing to change insurer because of this. 

Suzanne Oosterwijk from Dutch peace organization PAX on behalf of the Fair Insurance Guide: "All eight insurers invested money in companies that have delivered, or are going to deliver, combat helicopters, tanks, (cluster) bombs or radar systems to Saudi Arabia. This country has recently used banned cluster munitions in Yemen and is known for its lousy human rights situation. Surely, no decent insurer wants to be involved in this?” 

Out of the ten researched insurance groups only Achmea and ASR did not invest in such companies. The eight others were found to have financial ties to companies such as Lockheed Martin, BAE Systems and Airbus Group, that in the research period 2010-2014 delivered weapons and military goods to, amongst others, dictatorships and corrupt countries. The largest investors are Allianz, with investments of over € 2.6 billion, Legal & General with more than € 2 billion and € 984 million by APG. The top three is followed by Aegon (€ 805 million), NN Group (€ 235 million) and Generali (€ 43 million). Delta Lloyd (€ 18 million) and SNS Reaal (€ 3 million) have made small investments in the surveyed arms companies. 

No or incomprehensive policy 
The point of departure for the study, which was commissioned by the Fair Insurance Guide and conducted by economic research bureau Profundo, is that insurers should not invest in companies that deliver arms to countries with an arms embargo, unfree countries, countries in armed conflict, fragile countries, corrupt states and poor countries which spend an excessive part of their budget on military expenditure. Suzanne Oosterwijk: "Some insurers do not have a specific policy in place that prevents investments in companies that are involved in the controversial arms trade. Others do have a policy, but one that does not go far enough or for example does not apply to all types of investments." The Fair Insurance Guide calls on the insurers to put in place a comprehensive policy and apply it to all investments. "This way we can prevent weapons from ending up in the wrong hands," said Oosterwijk. 

More than half of policyholders willing to switch insurer 
An opinion poll by Motivaction among the Dutch population shows that 66% of respondents finds it (very) unacceptable if their insurer invests in companies that supply military goods to controversial destinations. Of these, 81% would be willing to change insurer. The website www.eerlijkegeldwijzer.nl/verzekeringswijzer informs consumers about their insurers investment practice and allows consumers to send a complaint or a compliment. 

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