Religious groups join call for climate action from insurers

Lloyd’s has come under more fire from campaigners this week with faith groups from across the spectrum pressing the market to do more to tackle climate change.

Writing in The Times 23 faith leaders called on the world’s largest insurance market to “show leadership” by ending insurance for all new fossil fuel projects.

“Those who back new fossil fuel projects have a moral responsibility to change course,” they wrote.

Signatories including Nicola Brady, general secretary of Churches Together in England and Ireland, and Kamran Shezad, director of the Islamic Foundation for Ecology and Environmental Sciences, urged Lloyd’s to commit to not providing (re)insurance for the East African Crude Oil Pipeline.

They should also phase out existing fossil fuel insurance, signatories including the Bishops of Reading and Selby, Hindu Climate Action, Eco Judaism, Quakers in Britain and the Islamic Foundation for Ecology and Environmental Science said.

It added Lloyd’s members, who insure around 40 per cent of the global energy market, have a decisive role to play in preventing climate damage but lag behind other insurance companies.

The letter highlighted that since March last year, Swiss Re, Munich Re and Allianz have all announced new policies moving away from oil and gas.

The signatories – also including Lord Singh of Wimbledon, director of the Network of Sikh Organisations and Paul Parker, recording clerk of Quakers in Britain – urged Lloyd’s to follow their example at its impending AGM.

The ten most expensive climate disasters in 2022 cost a combined $168 billion, mostly in insured losses, with the true cost being much higher.

And in the first few months of 2023 there has been flooding and landslides in Brazil, Mozambique and California, cyclones in Vanuatu and Madagascar, and an unprecedented winter heat wave in Europe.

The letter welcomed Lloyd’s introduction of phasing out insurance for coal and tar sands, but noted that these guidelines remain voluntary, and that the market has no policy on conventional oil and gas.

The full letter was sent to Lloyd’s chairman Bruce Carnegie-Brown and chief executive John Neal, and it included a request from the groups for a meeting to discuss the issues raised.