Allianz CEO calls for capital overhaul to help it fund climate transition

LONDON, Jan 27 (Reuters) - European regulators need to overhaul their capital rules to free up insurers to invest more in climate-friendly infrastructure projects, the chief executive of German insurer Allianz said on Wednesday.

“Today, the regulatory framework we have in Europe has actually disincentivised us helping with the transition,” Oliver Baete said, speaking at a virtual meeting of the World Economic Forum discussing how to finance the low-carbon transition.

As a European insurer, Allianz is subject to rules dubbed Solvency II, brought in after the financial crisis to ensure it has enough money put aside to pay out claims during any future crisis.

However, the rules have been criticised for forcing insurers to lock up too much money, therefore making it less worthwhile to invest in some assets.

“We are over-capitalising ... investments in infrastructure. It’s one thing if you invest in publicly traded equities, which can be very volatile (and) lose value for quite a while, but we’re applying the same capital logic to infrastructure investments even though the risk is very different.”

Amid calls from policymakers for private sector capital to be drafted in to help fund the global energy transition, Bate said the issue was critical and needed to be fixed “very quickly”. (Reporting by Simon Jessop; editing by David Evans)