News of Allianz’s increasingly pro-active stance on climate change stems from an interview given via the company website by Otto Steinmetz, chief risk officer of Dresdner Bank and head of the expert group on climate at the Allianz group.

As an international financial group, we are also directly affected by climate change – on the insurance side by liability for climate-induced claims, and on the banking side by a reduction in borrowers’ ability to pay and impairment of collateral, Mr Steinmetz said. That’s why we decided to address the issue proactively for ourselves and for the benefit of customers by developing a comprehensive Allianz climate strategy.

One of the methods to be promoted by the group, he said, would be a greater level of investment in renewable energy from Allianz’s private equity unit.

During the next five years, our subsidiary ‘Allianz Specialized Investments’ will invest between E300 and E500 million in this area – primarily in solar and wind energy. In December of last year, we invested in a wind park on Sicily.

He added that, apart from Italy, Spain, Greece, France and the UK are all interested in promoting wind energy.

Internally, Allianz says it will reduce its CO2 emissions by 20% by 2012 against 2000 levels.