Organizations representing over 24 million members have sent an open letter to the remaining insurers of the Trans Mountain pipeline asking them to drop coverage for the pipeline’s expansion project.
“Insuring tar sands pipelines demonstrates that your company is choosing corporate greed over people, and it will pose significant reputational risks to your business,” the letter said. “We urge you to rule out insuring Trans Mountain and exit the tar sands sector entirely.”
The letter has been signed by over 140 non-profits, First Nations, Indigenous leaders, physicians associations, and grassroots activists.
According to the letter, the 70-year old pipeline has been a major environmental and public health hazard, and it has experienced its fair share of oil spills. The planned expansion of the pipeline – which has been opposed by Indigenous groups for years – is slated to increase its capacity by 890,000 barrels of oil annually.
The Trans Mountain pipeline currently has insurance coverage from 11 insurers totaling over US$500 million, which is set to expire on August 31, 2020. With the possible renewal of the insurance certificate on the horizon, the letter was addressed to the remaining insurers of the pipeline – AIG, Chubb, Energy Insurance Limited, Liberty Mutual, Lloyd’s, Munich Re, Starr, Stewart Specialty Risk Underwriting, and W.R. Berkley.
“Lloyd’s of London is Trans Mountain’s biggest remaining insurer. Lloyd’s actions do not match its rhetoric on climate change, and its underwriting policies certainly do not match climate science,” commented Lindsay Keenan, European coordinator of the Insure Our Future campaign.
The other insurers of Trans Mountain, Zurich Insurance Group and Talanx Group (which insured the pipeline through subsidiaries Hannover Re and HDI), recently dropped their plans to renew their coverage for the pipeline.
“Over 100,000 SumOfUs members called on insurance companies like Zurich, Talanx, and Munich Re – and are pleased that the companies have stopped underwriting destructive projects like the Trans Mountain pipeline,” said Angus Wong, Canadian team leader at SumOfUs.org. “In addition, thousands of our members have written to Swiss based-Chubb CEO and executives in German, French and English to join its competitors and not renew its insurance on Trans Mountain. Chubb was an industry leader as one of the first insurance companies to stop working with coal, and we are hopeful that it will do the right thing with dirty tar sands pipelines as well.”