Four insurers ruled out EACOP in the past two weeks due to pressure from activists and engagement with campaigners, with Canopius the latest to distance itself from the mega-pipeline
A statement from Canopius followed the hand delivery of a letter from Money Rebellion, urging them to rule out the controversial project. Lee Jones, Head of Marketing and Communications at Canopius said: “Canopius can confirm that we have no involvement, or plans to be involved with the insurance of the East African Crude Oil Pipeline.”
The East Africa Crude Oil pipeline, or EACOP is a 1,443 kilometre pipeline planned for Uganda and Tanzania. It threatens to displace thousands of families and farmers from their land, severely degrade critical water resources and wetlands in both Uganda and Tanzania, and rip through numerous sensitive biodiversity hotspots. The oil transported via the pipeline would generate 34 million tons of carbon emissions each year. Local resistance against the project has been ongoing since 2017 as an international Stop EACOP campaign has led advocacy since 2020.
Activists pointed to insurers who have been contacted but are yet to rule out the project, including Brit, Chaucer and Tokio Marine Kiln, Chubb, Liberty Mutual and AIG, as the next targets. All have syndicates within the Lloyd’s of London marketplace which has been criticised over its lack of robust exclusions on fossil fuels.
Further companies with syndicates in the Lloyds marketplace yet to respond to the request for information about their involvement in EACOP include Cincinnati Global and Lancashire Syndicates.
This week, the Extinction Rebellion group, Money Rebellion, will hand-deliver letters to Brit, Chaucer, Tokio Marine Kiln and Chubb, encouraging them to rule out the controversial scheme.
Hundreds of activists from around the world have joined an online platform supporting them to contact insurers and make a case for staying away from EACOP by exposing the numerous climate, environmental, social risks and human rights violations associated with the project. Coal Action Network estimates that by Tuesday morning around two thousand emails will have been received by staff at Brit and Chaucer.
Last week the East African regional insurer Britam ruled out the project in response to a complaint that it did not meet the IFC (International Finance Consortium) Performance Standards. Arch and AEGIS, both Lloyds of London syndicates also ruled out involvement.
Samuel Okulony, of Ugandan organisation and #StopEACOP partner Environment Governance Institute (EGI), said, "Supporting projects that are marred by human rights violations, environmental degradation, and the destruction of our country's natural heritage is unacceptable. While some reinsurers and banks have abandoned the EACOP project due to its disastrous nature, we continue to urge those who are still considering it to refrain from being complicit and to withdraw financial support."
Isobel Tarr of Coal Action Network added, “Because the project can’t be fully insured in-country, global insurance broker Marsh is seeking insurance for EACOP on the international market. Lloyds of London is top of the list, and all the companies the #StopEACOP campaign is targeting syndicates there. If Lloyd’s brought in robust exclusions on fossil fuels then their syndicates wouldn’t be subject to such pressure from campaigners on projects like EACOP.”
EACOP has been condemned by the European parliament for its associated human rights abuses in Uganda and Tanzania with arrests and indefinite detention of peaceful protestors taking place in October, forcing other insurers to distance themselves. The pipeline and associated Tilenga oil field are expected to displace almost 118,000 people in Uganda and Tanzania. And nearly a third of the pipeline would be built in the Lake Victoria Basin, on which more than 40 million people depend for their water and food production and where an oil spill would be disastrous.
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