Lloyd's of London Open Letter

Dear Lloyd’s of London CEO John Neal,

As I am sure you are aware, due to your insurance of fossil fuel projects, Lloyd’s of London and the insurers who operate in the marketplace, are the ongoing target of campaigns by concerned members of the public, Lloyd’s of London staff, Indigenous peoples, and members of communities worldwide directly impacted by these very projects.

We are writing to express our concern at Lloyd’s role in insuring climate-wrecking fossil fuel projects such as the Trans Mountain Pipeline (TMX) and possibly the East Africa Crude Oil Pipeline (EACOP). The marketplace should take action as a whole to ensure a liveable planet for all, by ending under wiring for fossil fuel expansion projects.

The Trans Mountain pipeline expansion has been fiercely opposed for years by people globally. The proposed expansion would transport an additional 590,000 barrels of oil daily, tripling its current capacity. An increase of this scale cannot be justified at a time when leading scientists have made it clear that there is no room for any additional fossil fuel infrastructure, nor considering the devastating impacts of tar sands specifically.

As a proposition, it’s risky at best. In the last 10 years, the existing Trans Mountain pipeline has had 85 spills. In 2020 it spilled 190,000 litres of thick tar sands oil near a sacred Indigenous burial ground. A rise in fuel tanker traffic off the coast of Vancouver increases the risk of an oil spill, which would devastate local communities and ecosystems. It faces opposition by numerous Indigenous peoples whose traditional ancestral territory and ways of life are threatened by the pipeline, including the Squamish Nation, Tsleil-Waututh Nation, the Ts'elxwéyeqw Tribes and Coldwater Indian Band. In total, more than 120 First Nations and Tribes oppose TMX as part of the Treaty Alliance Against Tar Sands Expansion.

We are troubled further by Lloyd’s hereto silence on EACOP. Once constructed, EACOP would be the world’s longest heated oil pipeline, stretching for almost 1,445 km. The pipeline would disturb thousands of kilometres of sensitive ecosystems including the Murchison Falls National Park and the Lake Victoria basin, a vital water supply supporting about 40 million people.

Construction of the pipeline has already displaced thousands of people in villages in Uganda to make way for building infrastructure; farmers have been relocated in cramped conditions far from their fields. The same communities being displaced by EACOP’s construction must also cope with the impacts of climate change, which the pipeline will make worse by generating an additional 34 million tonnes of carbon emissions each year. EACOP also threatens to destroy critical habitat for vulnerable species such as the Eastern Chimpanzee and the African Elephant.

The latest International Panel on Climate Change (IPCC) report clearly stipulates that we need to rapidly phase out fossil fuels. The IPCC report states that we need to halve emissions by 2030 — and this is possible, but only if big polluting governments and corporations act now.

Lloyd’s claim to be “insuring a sustainable, greener future” through your climate action roadmap, yet you continue to insure fossil fuel projects that are driving climate chaos. As the marketplace leader you can critically influence which fossil fuel projects and companies get insurance, and therefore which can go ahead and which can not. Insurance companies hold the key to stopping these pipelines — if the pipelines can’t get corporations to pay for cleaning up their spills, they can’t operate.

Public pressure is only going to grow on this issue and Lloyd’s needs to be a leader rather than leaving it to individual syndicates and their staff to take the flack. The TMX expansion and EACOP will cause unprecedented destruction to our planet. Now is the time for Lloyd’s of London to publicly indicate that you will not insure the Trans Mountain and EACOP Pipelines, and that you will be adopting a policy that restricts insurance of fossil fuel projects within your marketplace.  

As such, we have the following demands for Lloyd’s.

  • Make a clear statement on behalf of all of Lloyd’s members that no Lloyd’s syndicate shall renew or provide insurance for any aspect of the Trans Mountain or EACOP pipelines.

  • Implement a policy to stop the underwriting of fossil fuel expansion and other carbon-intensive projects by all members of the Lloyd’s marketplace.