Protestors seek to shut down Lloyd’s over energy insurance role

Lloyd’s became the target for more protest yesterday as a 60 strong group from Extinction Rebellion blocked the entrances to its iconic Lime Street structure.

The protest was designed to close the insurance and reinsurance market for the day. Police were quickly on the scene as protestors used superglue, chains and bike locks, to block over twenty-five entrances to the building. Staff already inside were allowed to exit. Climbers also scaled the outside of the iconic building and dropped two banners, saying “End Fossil Fuels Now” and “Insure Climate Justice”.

A spokesperson for Extinction Rebellion told Emerging Risks that the group is demanding that Lloyd’s stop insuring fossil fuels projects, and highlighted the Trans Mountain Pipeline extension in Canada, which they believe is being insured through the Lloyd’s syndicates.

Clare Walmsley, a spokesperson from Extinction Rebellion, said: “We’re here to demand an end to all new fossil fuel investments and insurance. By underwriting the world’s most deadly fossil fuel projects, they are creating climate chaos – floods, famine, wildfires and death. Insuring new oil and gas projects in the North Sea, which was part of the government’s energy strategy, does nothing to solve the cost of living crisis. Instead, it locks us into a system that’s already pushing millions into poverty.”

The action is part of the April Rebellion and comes after 10 days of ongoing disruption across the UK from Extinction Rebellion and the Just Stop Oil coalition. Both groups have vowed to continue disruption until the government stops all new fossil fuel investments. With the government’s new energy strategy doubling down on oil and gas in the North Sea in face of war in Ukraine – which is in complete contradiction to Paris Agreement commitments.

As employees arrived for work to find the building closed, they were greeted by members of XR’s TruthTeller project who invited them to blow the whistle about any planet damaging plans being insured by Lloyd’s.

The document handed to workers read: “As a fellow human being are you happy to help him [Lloyd’s CEO John Neal] take us down this highly dangerous path? As a Lloyd’s professional, do you think it makes long-term business sense to double down on a doomed sector? If not, we invite you to speak up. We also invite you to whistleblow.”

Craig Welsby, a spokesperson from Extinction Rebellion, said: “Lloyd’s CEO John Neil isn’t just refusing to take action to avoid climate breakdown, but is actively blocking efforts by other members of the Lloyd’s team to take action. In 2022 Lloyd’s unveiled a policy that would have seen the most polluting fossil fuels, coal and tar sand, blacklisted from the marketplace. Instead, we’re now told their policy isn’t worth the paper it’s written on. To safeguard a liveable planet, we need to stop fossil fuel expansion today, not recklessly squeeze every last bit of profit.”

The group warned they would not cease action against the London market citing its prominent role in the global energy insurance market.

“At Lloyd’s of London, specialist underwriters and insurance companies, grouped together as syndicates, operate globally, insuring around 40% of the global energy market,” it said. “A very large part of this is fossil fuels. Lloyd’s is a central part of the wider London insurance market, writing more than half of its total premium. The London Market Group reported that, in 2018, the combined London insurance market accounted for 55% of global energy sector insurance premiums.”

As employees arrived for work to find the building closed, they were greeted by members of XR’s TruthTeller project who invited them to blow the whistle about any planet damaging plans being insured by Lloyd’s.

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