Hannover Re abandons embattled oil pipeline project

Environmental groups urge Lloyd’s, Munich Re to follow others in refusing to underwrite pipeline

Hannover Re abandons embattled oil pipeline project


By Ryan Smith

Hannover Re has become the latest reinsurer to abandon the embattled East African Crude Oil Pipeline (EACOP), joining Swiss Re, AXA, Zurich and SCOR in publicly committing that they will not underwrite the project.

“We refrain from providing reinsurance coverage for EACOP due to noncompliance with our ESG expectations,” Hannover Re said in a statement. “EACOP has been put on an exclusion list about a year ago and our facultative underwriters have been informed accordingly.”

“The statement by Hannover Re adds to the troubles the pipeline and its associated oil fields are facing,” said Omar Emawi, coordinator of the #StopEACOP campaign. “Momentum against the project is building with each day. The list of financiers and insurers rejecting EACOP is rapidly increasing. This is a testament to the resilience and determination from all quarters to defend humanity, livelihoods and the environment. We thank these insurance companies for choosing humanity over corporate greed, and call on Munich Re and Lloyd’s of London to do the same.”

“Hannover Re’s commitment is part of its broader policy not to take on any new reinsurance for new gas or oil development, storage or pipelines,” said Lindsay Keenan, EU coordinator for Insure Our Future. “This policy and the recently updated oil and gas policy of Swiss Re, which has also rejected EACOP, puts the attention firmly on to Munich Re, the world’s largest reinsurer. Munich Re CEO Joachim Wenning should respond with a world-leading oil and gas policy and a clear commitment not to reinsure EACOP.”

“Five of the world’s largest (re)insurers have now declined coverage for EACOP due to environmental and social concerns, joining 15 banks in renouncing the project,” said Coleen Scott, legal and policy associate at Inclusive Development International. “This is a remarkable number of institutions backing away, and with every new rejection, the controversy around this project continues to snowball. Soon it’ll be too toxic for any bank or insurer to touch.”

“Of the world’s four biggest reinsurers, three have excluded reinsuring EACOP,” said Regine Richter, energy and finance campaigner for German environmental and human rights group Urgewald. “It’s now high time for Munich Re to follow suit. Nearly 50 years of warning against climate change needs to translate into concrete action. Not reinsuring new oil and gas projects is a crucial starting point.”

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