Insurance sector back in climate crosshairs

Campaigners were again out in London to protest over the insurance industry’s cover of fossil fuel projects as Lloyd’s held its AGM.

The Coal Action Network are protesting outside of Lloyd’s of London, for their role in insuring the expansion of the Trans Mountain Pipeline (TMX) and the East Africa Crude Oil Pipeline (EACOP).  The protest came as the Financial Times named Marsh as the broker charged with securing the insurance cover for EACOP.

Protestors built a fake pipeline outside the Lloyd’s building in Lime Street to highlight their concerns over the insurance of fossil fuel projects.

A spokesperson said: “Through previous actions outside Lloyds of London, we know that there are many sympathetic staff who do not support their workplace insuring the expansion of the Trans Mountain Pipeline and the East Africa Crude Oil Pipeline. Therefore we are asking staff to sign an open letter to John Neal, CEO of Lloyds of London.”

The letter demands that Neal issues a “clear statement” on behalf of all of Lloyd’s members that no Lloyd’s syndicate shall renew or provide insurance for any aspect of the Trans Mountain or EACOP pipelines.

It adds the market needs to Implement a policy to stop the underwriting of fossil fuel expansion and other carbon-intensive projects by all members of the Lloyd’s marketplace.’

The controversial TMX pipeline carries diluted bitumen, and campaigners said the proposed expansion would transport an additional 590,000 barrels of oil daily, tripling its current capacity.

“The Trans Mountain tar sands pipeline threatens my nation and our sacred Sleilwaut (Burrard) inlet; our place of creation. The pipeline poisons our clam beds and violates the rights of many Indigenous communities along its length and at its source. Expanding tar sands extraction and increasing the capacity of the Trans Mountain pipeline network is nothing less than climate destruction,” said Kayah George of Tsleil-Waututh Nation and Tulalip Tribes. “To date, 16 companies have ruled out insuring the Trans Mountain expansion project, but insurers on the Lloyd’s of London marketplace likely remain as the pipeline’s lead insurers. The Lloyd’s marketplace and syndicates like Arch urgently need to get the message: it’s time to move away from dirty fossil fuels and instead uplift Indigenous rights, a healthy environment, and a stable climate.”

Campaigners added it is predicted five million people will die each year due to fossil fuels globally, only 40,000 of those in the UK.

“Campaigning efforts to stop the insurance of the TMX pipeline in 2020 led to three insurance companies cutting ties with the pipeline: Zurich (the lead insurer), Munich Re, and Talanx,” added the spokesperson. “We are hoping to build on this momentum to drive away more insurers this year. Already this year specialty insurance and reinsurance firms Aspen Insurance and Arch Insurance have confirmed that they do not plan to renew their insurance of the Trans Mountain Tar Sands Oil Pipeline project when its current insurance policy expires this summer.”

As the protest began the Bureau of Investigative Journalism (BIJ) and the Financial Times revealed that Marsh has won the contract to find insurers for the East African Crude Oil Pipeline (EACOP). This said the BIJ is in spite of over 100 Marsh employees signing a letter last year urging the company not to broker insurance for the pipeline because of its “disastrous consequences” for the climate.

The pipeline is expected to generate more than 33 million tons of carbon emissions each year, derailing targets to limit global warming to 1.5 degrees, according to protestors.

“This investigation shines a light on the activism happening inside companies, as young, environmentally-minded employees come up against industry veterans resistant to changing business practices to tackle the climate crisis,” said the BIJ. “In their letter, the employees ask: ‘Will clients trust us to provide climate risk management if they know we also support projects which worsen these very risks?’.”

The letter demands that John Neal issues a “clear statement” on behalf of all of Lloyd’s members that no Lloyd’s syndicate shall renew or provide insurance for any aspect of the Trans Mountain or EACOP pipelines.

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