Last Thursday, 18th May, Coal Action Network protested outside of Lloyd’s of London, for their role in insuring the expansion of the Trans Mountain Pipeline (TMX) and the East Africa Crude Oil Pipeline (EACOP).
We built a fake pipeline outside Lloyds of London. Through previous actions outside Lloyds of London, we know that there are many sympathetic staff who do not support their workplace insuring the expansion of the Trans Mountain Pipeline and the East Africa Crude Oil Pipeline. Therefore we are asking staff to sign an open letter to John Neal, CEO of Lloyds of London. The letter demands that he make a clear statement that no Lloyd’s syndicate shall renew or provide insurance for TMX or EACOP, and implement a policy to stop the underwriting of fossil fuel expansion and other carbon-intensive projects by all members of the Lloyd’s marketplace.
We want to shed light onto Lloyd’s of London's appalling environmental record, and the colonialist practices from which Lloyd’s of London grew. From the insurance of slave ships, to the insurance of climate-destroying projects that dispossess indigenous peoples of their land, Lloyd’s of London have blood on their hands.
The TMX pipeline carries diluted bitumen, which is a fossil fuel and the expansion of it leads to further climate catastrophe for local communities and globally. The proposed expansion would transport an additional 590,000 barrels of oil daily, tripling its current capacity.
An increase of this scale cannot be justified at a time when leading scientists have made it clear that there is no room for any additional fossil fuel infrastructure, nor considering the devastating impacts of tar sands specifically. To meet the urgency of the climate crisis, we need to unite together and take action to increase the pressure like never before. In the run-up to Lloyd’s of London’s AGM we have been asked to help indigenous Land Defenders in Canada to cut off insurance to the Trans Mountain Pipeline.
“The Trans Mountain tar sands pipeline threatens my nation and our sacred Sleilwaut (Burrard) inlet; our place of creation. The pipeline poisons our clam beds and violates the rights of many Indigenous communities along its length and at its source. Expanding tar sands extraction and increasing the capacity of the Trans Mountain pipeline network is nothing less than climate destruction,” said Kayah George of Tsleil-Waututh Nation and Tulalip Tribes. “The Lloyd's marketplace and syndicates like Arch urgently need to get the message: it’s time to move away from dirty fossil fuels and instead uplift Indigenous rights, a healthy environment, and a stable climate.”
Campaigning efforts to stop the insurance of the TMX pipeline in 2020 led to three insurance companies cutting ties with the pipeline: Zurich (the lead insurer), Munich Re, and Talanx. We are hoping to build on this momentum to drive away more insurers this year. Already this year specialty insurance and reinsurance firms Aspen Insurance and Arch Insurance have confirmed that they do not plan to renew their insurance of the Trans Mountain Tar Sands Oil Pipeline project when its current insurance policy expires this summer.
The confirmation sees 18 insurance companies that have either dropped Trans Mountain or vowed to rule out insuring the Trans Mountain Expansion Project as climate advocates call for the insurance industry to shore up climate strategies. Lloyd’s of London must follow suit.
Lloyd’s of London member Arch Insurance has committed to no longer insure the Trans Mountain tar sands pipeline after its current insurance policy expires this summer. Arch joins seventeen insurance companies, including fellow Lloyd’s syndicate Aspen most recently, that have dropped Trans Mountain or vowed not to insure the Trans Mountain Expansion Project.
Amid pressure from activists to break ties with the tar sands pipeline expansion, in an email to Coal Action Network, a spokesperson for Arch stated:
“We can confirm that Arch Capital Group Ltd, on behalf of its underwriting operations, will not issue any future insurance policies covering the Trans Mountain Pipeline.”
Trans Mountain experienced firsthand the impacts of climate chaos in 2021. Following historic wildfires in the summer, November brought extreme flooding and mudslides that shut down the existing line for three weeks. This resulted in over two months of lower capacity oil flow.
More than 18,000 people were displaced from their homes in the climate catastrophe.
Trans Mountain pipeline expansion faces severe flooding and river crossing risks which should make insurers run a mile.
Equipment and generators were submerged in the flooded Coquihalla River; then the storms of November 2021 hit, adding half a billion dollars to the project cost.
Despite this, TMX continues to operate recklessly in flood-risk zones according to Ian Stephe of the WaterWealth Project :
"The company is recklessly setting the stage for further problems at the Vedder River crossing in Chilliwack where the river overflowed dikes. The company filed a geotechnical report that was withheld during route approval hearings and that only finds this major river crossing feasible as planned based on assumptions that were outdated when the report was written and that remain unmet. As a community member with a long history on this project, I am concerned about the impacts from this pipeline on waterways, and insurers should be too."
Charlene Aleck of the Tsleil-Waututh Nation Sacred Trust Initiative raised the question; who will fund a project this as risky as TMX?
"As the 18th insurer to rule out Trans Mountain, Arch is confirming that fossil fuel projects without Free Prior and Informed consent are a material risk. Trans Mountain's steps to keep their insurers secret will not stop the momentum towards a safer and more just world. Trans Mountain is currently looking for more financing to continue construction, but who will fund such a risky project?"
According to the last insurance certificate with company names listed, Lloyd’s syndicates collectively were the biggest insurer for Trans Mountain. Chubb and Zurich were the biggest individual insurers listed providing coverage, but since then, both Chubb and Zurich have cut ties, making Lloyd’s a remaining top target.
By refusing to rule out Trans Mountain across its marketplace, Lloyd’s of London is failing its members and the millions of people whose lives are being destroyed by climate change. With their understanding of risk, why hasn't the industry taken action decades ago?
With Arch and Aspen cutting ties, Beazley and CNA Hardy are the prime targets for public pressure.
This could all be avoided if Lloyd’s ended insurance for fossil fuels across its marketplace.
Lloyd’s of London has increasingly been the target of protests in the UK for its connection to the pipeline in the lead up to Lloyd’s of London actual Annual General Meeting on May 19. Resistance has included 60 people from Extinction Rebellion blocking the entrances at their iconic headquarters last month and a climate memorial led by Pacific Islanders and youth strikers from climate change-affected communities.
Delayed by over a decade of powerful Indigenous-led resistance, court cases, corporate campaigning, construction mishaps, and cost overruns, TMX is on it's knees. Matt Reml, (Lakota) Mazaska Talks says:
“Thanks to the effort of frontline Indigenous communities and grassroots activists, Lloyd’s of London syndicate Arch Insurance joins a growing list of insurance companies committing to no longer providing insurance for the Trans Mountain tar sands pipeline. This is a victory for Indigenous rights, environmental and climate justice. It is time for the Trudeau administration to end the Trans Mountain pipeline."
The projected cost of the Trans Mountain expansion project has quadrupled, according to recent numbers from the Canadian Ministry of Finance. The current price tag is approximately CA$21.4 billion, and the federal government pledged that it would not provide any additional funding. This leaves the budget $8.8 billion CAD short, demonstrating overwhelming opposition and challenges to building oil and gas pipelines.
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.
Insurance giant rules out support for new coal, tar sands, and Arctic energy exploration projects and commits to Net Zero emissions by 2050 for underwriting and investments
American International Group Inc. (NYSE: AIG) today announced major new company-wide climate commitments, including commitments to no longer provide underwriting and investments in the construction of any new coal-fired power plants, thermal coal mines, or oil sands. Further, the company will stop providing insurance cover and investments in any new Arctic energy exploration.
The commitments, which come after years of pressure from Public Citizen, Insure our Future, and other environmental groups, will also phase out existing underwriting and investments in companies by January 1, 2030 with 30 percent or more of revenue from coal or oil sands, or 30 percent electricity generated from coal.
“As one of the last major insurers without restrictions on coal insurance, AIG’s new commitments to reduce underwriting for coal, tar sands oil, and Arctic oil and gas are a major step forward for people and the planet,” said Hannah Saggau, insurance campaigner with Public Citizen. “AIG has vaulted itself from a laggard in the industry to a leader in the U.S., and we look forward to working with it to meet and improve on these commitments.”
In addition to pumping the brakes on coal and tar sands projects, AIG is also committing to reach net zero greenhouse gas emissions across its underwriting and investment portfolios by 2050 and adopt science-based emissions reduction targets in line with the goals of the Paris Agreement. In the company’s statement, AIG committed to release more information about its phase-out of fossil fuels in the coming months and to provide transparent reporting of its progress.
For over a year, Public Citizen has used direct actions, petition drives, policy advocacy, and behind the scenes pressure aimed at AIG and its CEO Peter Zaffino to demand the company stop supporting the fossil fuel expansion driving the climate crisis.
Today’s announcement marks the beginning of a new chapter in the campaign to improve AIG’s fossil fuel policies. AIG joins over 37 companies that have committed to end or restrict insurance for new coal projects, including Travelers, which recently adopted a policy. Among major U.S. insurance companies analyzed in Insure Our Future’s 2021 Scorecard on Insurance, Fossil Fuels, and Climate Change, only Berkshire Hathaway and W.R. Berkley still underwrite coal with no restrictions.
While these commitments represent major steps, the new AIG policy needs clarification and improvement.
“Ending support for coal expansion projects is strong and necessary—and it should be extended to all fossil fuels,” said Saggau. “The International Energy Agency has made it clear that to avoid climate catastrophe, there is no room for any fossil fuel expansion. AIG’s commitment to science-based climate targets should mean an end to all fossil fuel expansion, but today’s announcement doesn’t address that question.”
The new policies could have real impacts on ongoing projects around the world.
Notably, AIG’s commitment makes it the first U.S. insurer to rule out insurance for Arctic energy exploration, which pose grave threats to Indigenous rights and local ecosystems. At least 12 insurers have restricted support for oil and gas drilling in the Arctic Refuge. At the same time, however, today’s release from the company does not clearly define what areas of the Arctic nor what kind of energy exploration activities are covered by its commitment, nor does it implement a broader policy to ensure that all of the projects it insures have obtained the Free, Prior, and Informed Consent of impacted Indigenous communities.
In Canada, in the most recently publicly available insurance certificate, AIG provided coverage for the Trans Mountain Pipeline. The pipeline is a major environmental hazard and a violation of First Nations’ rights, and its expansion project consists of an entirely new pipeline that would ship more than 590,000 barrels per day of highly polluting tar sands crude oil to the coast of British Columbia. While the commitments released today ruled out insurance for the construction of any new oil sands projects, it is not clear if this includes tar sands transport projects like the Trans Mountain expansion.
“As one of the remaining potential insurers of the Trans Mountain pipeline, AIG’s commitment to rule out insurance for some tar sands projects is a first step but not enough,” said Charlene Aleck, spokesperson for the Tsleil-Waututh Nation Sacred Trust Initiative. “The Trans Mountain pipeline violates Indigenous rights and threatens our land, water, and climate. With the cost ballooning to C$21.4 billion, and the need for more private investment, this pipeline is as risky as ever. AIG must wake up to the significant financial, reputational, and environmental risks of the highly polluting tar sands sector and explicitly rule out insurance for all new tar sands transport projects.”
Written by Insure Our Future
Meeting reveals Neal’s failure to understand the need to stop insuring fossil fuel expansion
On February 16, Insure Our Future network members challenged John Neal, CEO of Lloyd’s of London, on the insurer’s fossil fuel policies and actions in a long awaited, but ultimately very disappointing, on-the-record meeting at Lloyd’s Lime Street headquarters.
The meeting between Neal, Lindsay Keenan, European Coordinator of Insure Our Future, and Mia Watanabe, UK Campaigner at Market Forces, revealed major problems with how Lloyd’s, and in particular its CEO, is addressing the climate crisis. The meeting started with Neal accepting a letter with 137,400 signatures on behalf of SumOfUs, an Insure Our Future network member. The letter demanded Lloyd’s stop supporting new and expansionary coal, oil and gas projects, including the East African Crude Oil Pipeline, Trans Mountain pipeline, Adani Carmichael coal mine, and oil drilling by the Bahamas Petroleum Company.
In stark contrast to statements made by Lloyd’s Council Chairman, Bruce Carnegie Brown, and what is clearly written in Lloyd’s December 2020 ESG report, Neal stated that in his view Lloyd’s ESG policy was nothing more than a “‘provocative discussion document”.
Revealingly, Neal claimed that, following the publication of the report, he had been contacted and lobbied by regulators, corporations, and state and national officials from around the world who said they were against the ESG policy and concerned about its ambitions. He confirmed that Lloyd’s had subsequently informed its members the ESG commitments were non-mandatory guidelines.
Despite lending a sympathetic ear to industry stakeholders, Neal was unequivocal in stating that he did not see it as his role to meet with representatives of communities impacted by the fossil fuel projects that Lloyd’s insures or invests in.
While professing to respect climate science and the International Energy Agency’s (IEA) 2021 report, Neal appeared to not understand nor accept the report’s key finding that there are no new coal mines or oil and gas fields approved for development in a Net Zero by 2050 pathway. Under Neal, Lloyd’s has no plan to align its policies with the IEA findings.
“It is a serious problem that John Neal has not been well enough briefed, or is just personally sceptical, about climate science and the findings of the International Energy Agency. An ESG policy touted by Carnegie-Brown as a ‘plan for becoming a truly sustainable insurance market’ has, under John Neal, become nothing more than a ‘discussion document’ that syndicates can take or leave as they see fit. It is abundantly clear that John Neal prioritises profits at the cost of people and planet, and that under his leadership Lloyd’s policies fail to match its climate rhetoric,” said Lindsay Keenan, European Coordinator of Insure Our Future.
Neal further exposed his disregard for climate action by failing to make a clear commitment that Lloyd’s members would not insure the East African Crude Oil Pipeline and saying Lloyd’s has no current plans to adopt an exclusion policy for oil and gas expansion.
On the Adani Carmichael coal project in Australia, a source of significant controversy for Lloyd’s over the last two years, Neal said that “to the best of my knowledge” the project is no longer insured in the Lloyd’s market. While Neal encouraged syndicates not to underwrite Adani, he refused to give a clear commitment on its status inside Lloyd’s, both now and in the future.
“The #StopAdani campaign has done the work John Neal should have done, and convinced the vast majority of its insurers to commit to never insuring the disastrous Adani Carmichael thermal coal project. Now, Neal needs to come clean and officially clarify if the Lloyd’s market remains exposed to Adani, and make the promise to not insure the climate-wrecking project in the future. If Lloyd’s cannot take this basic step, then its ESG policies have failed their most simple test and Adani Carmichael will continue to be a stain on its reputation,” said Mia Watanabe, UK Campaigner at Market Forces
Lloyd’s stated commitment to transparency is contradicted by its actions. Neal said Lloyd’s expects its members to have robust net-zero ESG plans, but will not ask them to publish those policies. He confirmed that data on insured emissions will be collected at syndicate level, but published only as obscure market wide data. Neal tried to justify the lack of transparency by saying he didn’t want to put additional pressure on Lloyd’s members.
Neal stated many times in the meeting that UK competition law prevents him from mandating marketwide action. Previously, Lloyd’s excuse was that it didn’t have the power to require the implementation of its ESG policy, which was proved false by its own bylaws. Neal now points to competition law as the barrier preventing Lloyd’s from mandating its members stop insuring and investing in specific fossil fuel sectors.
Keenan added, “Neal has no intention of taking marketwide action and is using competition law as his latest excuse. However, it does raise a significant question that must be asked of the UK Competition and Markets Authority regarding whether there is any legal barrier to coordinated industry action to meet climate targets.”
The meeting concluded with Keenan’s challenge for Neal to invite Insure our Future members, climate scientists and impacted communities to meet with Lloyd’s Council and ESG committee, and for Neal to join him in a public debate to clarify and discuss Lloyd’s policies. Neal said he would consider each of these, and appeared to mean it.
Today, the 29th October, on the eve of COP26 climate talks held in Glasgow, Coal Action Network were joined by Youth Strikers from across the world and the Pacific Climate Warriors, to set up a climate justice memorial at Lloyd’s of London HQ. The climate memorial was created to remember communities on the front lines of climate breakdown, who are being directly impacted by harmful projects and climate impacts.
The Lloyd’s of London insurance market, one of the world's largest insurers of fossil fuel projects.
Elara from Coal Action Network said “The memorial brought to life the memories of every person harmed by the injustices of the climate crisis. We’ve laid wreaths naming climate wrecking projects we want Lloyd’s of London to rule out underwriting today, and help to prevent billions of lives being destroyed by climate impacts. Lloyd’s needs to stop ignoring the climate science and communities being affected by climate breakdown.”
Protesters were joined by 20 Friday for Future MAPA youth strikers, some from communities most affected by climate change globally (including Bangladesh, Philipines, Argentina, Nigeria). Members of the Pacific Climate Warriors who have been calling on Lloyd’s to stop insuring the Adani Carmichael coal mine, brought flowers native to the Pacific Islands to add to the memorial. Representatives gave testimonies from their communities, which included those on the front lines of fossil fuel projects and climate impacts.
Joseph Sikulu from Pacific Climate Warriors said "Our communities grapple with climate impacts everyday. As sea levels rise we risk losing everything. The insurance industry should also understand the business risks of climate change. Climate fuelled disasters like hurricanes and wildfires are costing the industry billions. It is in our shared interests to act by stopping the major driver of global warming: coal. Lloyd's of London must show leadership now and act on the climate crisis by refusing insurance for climate wrecking coal projects like Adani’s Carmichael mine in Australia.”
Lloyd’s in an insurance market, composed of many underwriters and insurance companies. Lloyd’s is known for insuring projects that no one else will, which increasingly includes climate-destroying fossil fuel projects, making it a major global energy insurer.
In 2020, Lloyd’s published a Environmental, Social and Governance (ESG) Report. Campaigners said today that its commitments are not enough. Lloyd’s still allows members to acquire new business in these sectors, and is continuing to provide them cover until 2030. There is no mention of insurance and investment in coking coal, or other gas and oil projects, despite Lloyd’s being amongst the four largest insurers of fossil fuel projects. Click here for further information on how Lloyd’s of London helps fuel the climate crisis.
Members of the public laid hundreds of flowers and messages to Lloyd’s of London from over 4,500 people across the world were hung outside the offices, as well as delivered to Lloyd’s Chairman, Bruce Carnegie Brown. These messages are also visible at: https://lloydsmemorial.netlify.app/
Staff were asked to speak to senior management in Lloyd’s about ruling out insuring all fossil fuels, including specific fossil fuel projects like the Adani coal mine, tar sands carrying TransMountain pipeline, the proposed West Cumbrian coal mine, and the Cambo oilfields. The group also called on Lloyd’s to rule out any possible involvement with the Silvertown Tunnel, and for Lloyd’s to pay compensation for climate impacts.
Elara from Coal Action Network said “The climate crisis is harming the poorest and least responsible of us first and worst. The blame falls squarely at the feet of executives at corporations like Lloyd’s of London. Day after day they decide to profit from death and chaos, by underwriting projects that will lead to climate breakdown, while refusing to insure everyday people against the floods and wildfires they are helping to create.”
This action is the latest to target Lloyd’s of London, including Coal Action Networks previous climate memorial earlier this month on the 8th October. The action today forms part of a Defund Climate Chaos day of action, with groups across the world will take similar actions on the doorsteps of a range of financial and insurance institutions. At Lloyd’s, Coal Action Network’s memorial was preceded today by an ‘oil’ spill at their entrance, organised by others as part of the Defund Climate Chaos day of action. Coal Action Network are also facilitating a climate memorial in Newcastle at the offices of Lloyd’s syndicate Chubb insurance this afternoon.