Protesters have today gathered at the Lloyd’s of London’s headquarters and 12 other cities to demand the market and its insurers stop insuring all coal mines immediately, despite Lloyd’s claiming it is “transitioning towards a more sustainable insurance”.
This protest was part of the first UK wide day of action to mark the reopening of Lloyd’s offices after the lockdown. Twelve coordinated actions took place in various locations across the UK including London, Manchester, Swansea and Newcastle, and protests were supported by the Coal Action Network.
Andrew Taylor from Coal Action Network said: “Today we saw everyday people in every corner of the UK welcome Lloyd’s and its insurers back to the office with demands to stop putting profit over a liveable planet. We need them to rule out insuring deadly coal projects today, not next year or 2030.”
At Lloyd’s, specialist underwriters and insurance companies are grouped together as syndicates that operate globally, insuring around 40% of the global energy market, and Coal Action Network said that a “very large part” of this is fossil fuels.
According to the network, following its “weak” ESG policy, Lloyd’s has come under “increasing pressure” to immediately stop its underwriting of fossil fuel projects from local people, scientists, and climate protesters across the globe. Last month, Insurance Rebellion protesters tipped a truck load of fake coal outside the Lloyd’s of London HQ.
One of the key projects protesters have mobilised around is the West Cumbria coal mine, as Lloyd’s has “refused to rule out insuring the project”. If the project commences, the West Cumbria mine will be the first deep coal mine planned in the UK for over 30 years.
Coal Action Network claims that “if it goes ahead it will help lock the steel industry into burning coal and make a mockery of the UK’s climate targets”. Whilst no insurer in Lloyd’s marketplace is currently insuring the West Cumbria coal mine, they have so far ignored community requests to rule out insuring it and associated infrastructure all together.
Taylor concluded: “Last month, Lloyd’s of London cancelled a meeting to discuss its insurance of fossil fuels. Community members from Cumbria and Australia were keen to talk to Lloyd’s about its ESG policy on coal, alongside people from the Pacific Islands whose homes are disappearing due to sea level rise. After waiting months, at the last minute Lloyd’s backed out. That’s why we’ve now decided to come to them.”
However, in a statement to Insurance Wire, a Lloyd’s representative said: “’Lloyd’s is committed to accelerating its transition towards a more sustainable insurance and reinsurance marketplace, and has set out specific actions and commitments to align with the goals of the Paris Agreement.
“We are actively involved in constructive engagement on the issue of climate change and continue to explore the ways in which Lloyd’s can support a responsible transition.”
They added: “To enable the market to support their customers as they transition their businesses away from fossil fuels, the new standards Lloyd’s have set for the market are targeted and phased.
“We have asked managing agents to no longer provide new insurance cover for thermal coal-fired power plants, thermal coal mines, oil sands or new Arctic energy exploration activities from 1 January 2022. The target date for phasing out the renewal of existing insurance cover for these types of businesses is 1 January 2030.”