Our sister organisation Insure our Future today released a report highlighting the role that insurance giant Lloyd’s of London plays in driving the climate crisis. The full report on Lloyds is here. The story was also covered in The Ecologist.
Lloyd’s of London provides insurance and reinsurance that supports, enables and provides cover for some of the world’s worst fossil fuel projects, including coal mines, tar sands pipelines and new oil & gas exploration, which are incompatible with keeping climate change under 1.5°C.
Lloyd’s provides a significant portion of the global energy market insurance and is a central part of the wider London insurance market, writing more than half of its total premium.
Whilst many leading European insurers have in recent years withdrawn from insuring and investing in coal and tar sands, Lloyd’s says it will not set an underwriting policy unless there is a legal or regulatory requirement to do so.
Lloyd’s has stepped in to insure controversial fossil fuel projects that other insurers have dropped, for example the proposed Adani Carmichael coal mine in Australia. Lloyd’s members also provide reinsurance for heavily polluting Polish coal mines, which are an embarrassment to European climate policy. In 2019, Lloyd’s renewed its insurance of the Trans Mountain tar sand pipeline and is assumed to do so again in 2020.
Lloyd’s have talked about climate for a long time, but as these examples demonstrate, they have so far failed to take meaningful action, and worse Lloyd’s insurers are undermining the climate action of others. It’s 2020. The climate science is clear. Lloyd’s has a responsibility to support international climate targets and align their businesses with the Paris Agreement.
Lloyd’s specialist insurers take pride in insuring what no-one else will cover, including footballers’ legs and actresses eyes, but the question arises whether Lloyd’s niche will in the future also include climate destroying fossil fuel projects that no other insurer will touch.