Insurers invest 1.3 billion in exotic leather and fur: New report from Dutch Fair Insurance Guide

06 October 2022

even large insurers in the Netherlands still invest in fashion houses that use fur and exotic leather in clothing, bags and shoes, among other things. This is evident from new research commissioned by the Dutch Fair Insurance Guide in collaboration with Bont voor Dieren. The fashion houses use, for example, fur from raccoon dogs and mink and leather from ostriches and crocodiles, which is accompanied by severe animal suffering. The study shows that CZ is the only insurance group studied that does not invest in these fashion houses.

Allianz, NN Group, Aegon, ASR, Achmea, Menzis and VGZ together invest at least 1.3 billion euros in fashion houses Louis Vuitton Moët Hennessy (LVMH), Hermès and Semir. These fashion houses still use controversial fur and exotic leather. Most of the money, 1.2 billion euros, goes to LVMH.

'Fur and exotic leather are no longer of this time. Established fashion houses such as Versace, Gucci and Armani have opted for a fur-free policy on a large scale in recent years. Not only because today's customers no longer want it, but also for the protection of animals and the environment. For example, animals are skinned alive and toxic substances are used to preserve leather and fur. Nevertheless, there are still a few fashion houses that continue to use fur and exotic leather, made possible by insurers that are active in the Netherlands. It is therefore important that insurers are made aware of this and that customers know what happens to their premium deposit, so that they can file a complaint about this or choose to switch to another, more animal-friendly insurer", says Sandra Schoenmakers, Director of Bont voor Dieren.

Good policy is not forthcoming, investments continue to exist

Allianz and NN Group invest by far the most in three of the four fashion houses that still use fur and exotic leather: Allianz invests more than 1 billion euros, and NN Group more than 188 million. Aegon, ASR and Achmea follow in the middle bracket with investments below 100 million euros and Menzis and VGZ invest the least with investments below one million. CZ is doing well, they do not invest in the fashion houses that use fur and exotic leather.

Time for change

In an earlier study conducted in 2016 by the Dutch Fair Insurance Guide, such investments in animal suffering were already raised. Nevertheless, action by these seven insurers is not forthcoming. It is important that insurers completely withdraw from these fashion houses and develop policies to prevent future investments in fur and exotic leather.

Dirk Jan Verdonk, Director of World Animal Protection and spokesperson on behalf of the Fair Insurance Guide says 'Apart from the amounts, these investments are really irresponsible. Fur and exotic leather are really no longer possible. The policy also leaves much to be desired; none of the insurers (including CZ) have a complete exclusion policy for investments in fur and exotic leather. It is unfortunate that such extreme animal suffering is still being invested in. We hope that insurers will finally get out of these fashion houses as a result of this research.'

Animal suffering

In the production of fur, animals such as mink, foxes, rabbits and raccoon dogs are bred purely for their fur. These animals are kept in cramped wire steel cages and have no opportunity to show natural behavior. Their deaths are also terrible. In Europe, for example, mink are killed by gassing. Raccoon dogs and foxes are electrocuted anally. As if this were not enough, we also get fur from outside Europe. The coat of coyotes is used in clothing. These animals are still caught with leghold traps, beaten to death and then skinned.

For the production of exotic leather, reptiles are skinned alive, pythons drown, and in crocodiles vertebrae are broken to paralyze them. Prior to their death, the animals are kept in cages that are far too small. As a result, they develop behavioral disorders and injure themselves and each other. In all cases, this means serious and unnecessary animal suffering.

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Note for editors: For more information or an interview, please contact Sandra Schoenmakers, Director of Bont voor Dieren: or 06-36069600. or  Dirk-Jan Verdonk, General Director of World Animal Protection and spokesperson for the Fair Insurance Guide: or 06-52362375.

The Fair Insurance Guide is part of the Fair Finance Guide, a partnership between World Animal Protection, Amnesty International, Milieudefensie, Oxfam Novib and PAX. The research was carried out by Profundo.