Climate protesters outside Lloyds of London

Campaign group Insure Our Future today staged a protest outside insurance market Lloyd’s of London, demanding the market “wash its hands” of coal and tar sands. The protest saw campaigners welcome employees back to the insurance marketplace after its temporary closure due to the coronavirus pandemic.

Since 2017, 19 global insurers have restricted insurance for and investments in coal and tar sands. Meanwhile, Lloyd’s has stepped in to cover various controversial fossil fuel projects – including the proposed Adani Carmichael coal mine in Australia, the Trans Mountain tar sands pipeline in Canada, and reinsurance for Polish coal mines.

Campaigners have criticised Lloyd’s for failing to take meaningful action on climate change, and undermining the positive climate action of other insurers. A report by the Insure Our Future campaign in 2019 found that Lloyd’s has become the ‘insurer of last resort’ for fossil fuel projects.

In November 2017, Lloyd’s adopted a policy to restrict investments in coal. But campaigners and climate groups have criticised this. ClientEarth and Insure Our Future claim this covers just 2.5% of its market, and thus leaving Lloyd’s “free to continue business as usual”.

Insure our Future European coordinator Lindsay Keenan said:

Lloyd’s needs to act on the science, follow other leading insurers and stop providing the insurance cover that supports and enables climate destroying coal and tar sands projects. Lloyd’s has both a moral imperative and a long-term self interest to act as society’s risk manager and stop being a stain on the European insurance industry.

Spokesperson for the Stop Adani Carrie Tsai campaign echoed this:

Lloyd’s must refuse insurance for Adani’s deeply unpopular and environmentally destructive Carmichael coal project. Lloyd’s needs to act on the climate crisis, not act as the last refuge for climate wreckers like Adani to secure insurance. Insurers who associate with Adani’s toxic brand cause massive damage to their reputation.

A coalition of 140 groups representing 24 million people wrote to Lloyd’s urging it not to renew its insurance for the Trans Mountain pipeline due to its contribution to the climate crisis, Indigenous rights violations and environmental justice concerns. The existing policy expired on August 31.

Secretary-Treasurer of the Union of British Columbia Indian Chiefs and Chief of the Neskonlith Indian Band Kukpi7 Judy Wilson said:

Trans Mountain put in the existing line without the consent of impacted First Nations and we have said ‘no’ countless times to the proposed expansion. As Indigenous peoples, we are stewards of our lands and waters. We have jurisdiction over activities that happen in our territories, and we don’t want them ruined by oil spills. We will continue to advocate against the insurers, like Lloyd’s, that continue to back the Trans Mountain pipeline and its expansion, and call on all insurance companies to adopt policies on respecting Indigenous rights and title and limiting the impacts of climate change.