Lloyd’s of London member Aspen Insurance has pledged to cut ties with the Trans Mountain (TMX) tar sands pipeline after its current insurance policy expires in summer 2022.
In an email to Coal Action Network, a spokesperson for Aspen stated:
“As a matter of corporate policy, Aspen does not comment on the specifics of any application for insurance we receive, any insurance or reinsurance contract we underwrite, or any claim we pay, however, we can confirm that we do not plan to renew the Trans Mountain Tar Sands Oil Pipeline project.”
Front-line community leaders supported the move. Charlene Aleck of the Tsleil-Waututh Nation Sacred Trust Initiative said:
“Aspen is joining insurance industry leaders in recognizing that fossil fuel infrastructure projects that don’t have Free Prior and Informed Consent are a material risk. It’s time for the rest of the Lloyd’s syndicates and the whole insurance sector to follow suit before the climate crisis gets worse”
A growing number of insurers have recognized the massive risks of the 69-year-old pipeline. The project would increase emissions equivalent to 2.2 million cars and has been delayed for years in the face of Indigenous-led resistance.
The Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change and the International Energy Agency reports have made it clear. Any new fossil fuel infrastructure is incompatible with global climate goals of limiting temperature increases to below 1.5 degrees C. This includes the Trans Mountain pipeline.
Lloyd’s of London has been the target of a range of protests around the Trans Mountain pipeline. 60 people from Extinction Rebellion blocked the entrances at their iconic headquarters last week. A climate memorial was led by Pacific Islanders and youth strikers from climate change-affected communities.
Since this campaign began, we've seen insurers at Lloyd’s of London come under increasing pressure to cut ties with Trans Mountain. Aspen is listening, but Lloyd’s syndicates like Arch and Beazley must follow suit. We need a step change across the whole Lloyd’s marketplace.
We are calling for leadership that mandates all insurers in their marketplace to end underwriting of new fossil fuel projects. While Lloyd’s CEO John Neal blocks meaningful climate action, we expect to see ongoing protests on Lloyd’s doorstep.
In February 2021, the Canadian-owned Trans Mountain corporation petitioned the Canada Energy Regulator to keep the names of its insurance backers secret. It stated that it had “observed increasing reluctance from insurance companies to offer insurance coverage for the Pipeline and to do so at a reasonable price.”
This shows that the tar sands exclusion policies increasingly adopted by insurers are having a tangible impact on the price and availability of insurance for the sector.
According to recent numbers from the Canadian Ministry of Finance, the projected cost of twinning the Trans Mountain pipeline has nearly tripled. The latest figures show that the current price tag is approximately CA$21.4 billion, and the federal government pledged that it would not give any more money to the pipeline. Elana Sulakshana, Senior Energy Finance Campaigner at Rainforest Action Network said:
“This announcement from Aspen makes clear that the Trans Mountain pipeline network is facing serious risks that financial institutions do not want to support: lack of consent from Indigenous communities, decaying infrastructure, mounting costs, and a massive carbon footprint."
Aspen needs to clarify that its commitment rules out all parts of the existing Trans Mountain pipeline and the expansion project in the future.
It's time for TMX's other insurers to rule out continued support for the project and the tar sands sector. This includes Energy Insurance Limited, Liberty Mutual, Lloyd’s of London and syndicates, Starr, Stewart Specialty Risk Underwriting, and W.R. Berkley.
We’re excited to let you know that you can finally watch FINITE online now on Vimeo On Demand, by renting or buying the film.
FINITE: The Climate of Change is an inspiring insider’s view of communities in the UK and Germany putting their bodies on the line to fight back against coal mining. Featuring Coal Action Network alongside local people in the Pont Valley, Durham…
We are an environmental organisation dedicated to ending coal mining and use in the UK for the sake of our collective climate and ecosystems. So you’d think we’d celebrate the claim by Merthyr (South Wales) Ltd that it will finally stop mining coal today at Ffos-y-fran in Merthyr Tydfil, South Wales. But we’re not. Because the abject failure of Merthyr County Borough Council to stop…
People hailing from Cumbria to London, and everywhere in between, descended on the Mines and Money Conference in London across two days (28th-29th Nov 2023). We demanded that investors stop pouring cash into the mining sector, and instead invest in our collective future. Together with Fossil Free London and other groups, we greeted investors with…
The insurers that have ruled out underwriting the mine are AEGIS Managing Agency, Argenta Syndicate Management, Hannover Re and Talanx. These are the first financial institutions to rule out any involvement with the project, and the win represents a new phase in the campaign to stop the project from going ahead.
Today’s global actions focused specifically on the state-owned China Export & Credit Insurance Corporation (Sinosure), the Export-Import Bank of China (China Exim), and the Industrial and Commercial Bank of China (ICBC). Sinosure is said to be in advanced talks with the Ugandan government about providing credit for the project.
On 18th October dozens of protesters staged a sit-in occupation of the plush City of London offices of ten Lloyd’s of London insurers demanding they rule out insuring the proposed West Cumbria coal mine and East Africa Crude Oil Pipeline (EACOP).
Global mining companies are coming to London soon attempting to find investors in their ruinous projects at the Mines and Money Conference (28th to 30th November). Join our protests against it!
01 September 2022: Merthyr (South Wales) Ltd applies for a S.73 time extension to mine coal from Ffos-y-fran, and to accordingly delay and vary restoration works.
06 September 2022: Planning permission ends for coal mining at the Ffos-y-fran site, after 15 years and 3 months of operations.
12 September 2022: first reports to MTCBC have been made by local residents of coaling beyond the end of planning permission.
Over 30 Welsh NGOs and businesses have signed a letter to Welsh Minister Julie James and Deputy Minister Lee Waters, demanding they draw a line in the sand and announce ban on any further coal mines on Welsh soil. The letter was delivered on 11th October 2023.