Lloyd’s insurers under fire as week of pipeline protests continues

Climate campaigners targeted the London market yesterday as the battle to stop insurance coverage for a controversial pipeline continued.

Activists from the StopEACOP Coalition held an ‘oil spill’ demonstration outside the offices of Talbot and Cincinnati Global Underwriting to demand the companies rule out the controversial East Africa Crude Oil Pipeline (EACOP).

Activists staged the ‘oil spill,’ with hazard signs that highlighted the risks of the controversial project, outside the offices of Talbot, before taking the scene with them to Cincinnati Global Underwriting to target staff at both Lloyd’s of London insurers. Activists brought banners naming the individual insurers, demanding they distance themselves from fossil fuel projects like EACOP, and talked to staff to urge them to raise the matter internally.

Meanwhile, phone calls poured into the offices of both companies with supporters of the demonstration urging the companies to take a position against EACOP on environmental and human rights grounds.

Elara Shurety of Coal Action Network explained the reasons for the action.

“While Cincinnati and AIG (parent company of Talbot) have ruled out other climate-wrecking projects such as Adani and the Trans Mountain Pipeline, they have stayed silent when asked about EACOP, and their oil and gas policies are relaxed enough to permit them to insure this climate disaster. We know that EACOP is seeking insurance at Lloyd’s where these companies manage syndicates.”

Despite the growing controversy around the project, including human rights violations, the French oil company Total Energies and the Chinese state company CNOOC are moving ahead with the oilfields and pipeline projects.

Baraka Lenga, of the Tanzanian chapter of the international multi-faith network GreenFaith, said: “We urge Talbot and Cincinnati to commit publicly to ruling out the East African Crude Oil Pipeline. Our land, water, and natural resources are integral to our livelihoods and culture, and this pipeline poses a significant threat to our well-being and future with unacceptable risks and impacts. We implore the insurance companies to stand with us by prioritising the health and safety of our communities, as well as the preservation of our environment. Let us work together towards sustainable development that benefits everyone, instead of supporting a project that will only bring harm to our beloved home.”

The protest came on day four of a coordinated ‘global week of action on EACOP’ by the StopEACOP coalition of civil society groups including Coal Action Network, Money Rebellion, Let’s Stop EACOP UK, BankTrack and Tipping Point UK. Throughout the week Lloyd’s insurers have been targeted through street demonstrations, online activities and phone calls. Since Monday over 4 million emails have been sent to Lloyd’s of London insurers by thousands of global supporters of the campaign, in a ‘communications blockade’ urging them to join the 22 other insurers that have already ruled the project out.

AIG, parent company of Talbot, will also be targeted by the StopEACOP global week of action in New York in a demonstration in NY today.

Maxwell Atuhura, of the Africa Institute for Energy Governance (AFIEGO) in Buliisa, Uganda, said the campaign will; only intensify. “Financial institutions and insurers that choose to lend their financial muscle to harmful fossil fuel projects, must recognise their role in fuelling the climate crisis that is devastating communities. It is time these institutions make a conscious effort to transition towards more sustainable and ethical investments. Those which have ruled out EACOP have chosen to prioritise the lives of communities and the future of our planet and generations to come. ”

Despite the growing controversy around the project, including human rights violations, the French oil company Total Energies and the Chinese state company CNOOC are moving ahead with the oilfields and pipeline projects.

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