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More insurers spurn huge coalmine project

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Argo Group and Allied World have joined a growing number of insurers and reinsurers to rule out providing services to a giant coalmine project in Australia.

The Bermudian-based companies were among those with Lloyd's of London insurance syndicates approached by campaigners opposed to the Adani Carmichael thermal coalmine in central Queensland.

The campaigners, who include the Sunrise project, said Lloyd's of London staff had confirmed that insurance for the coal project has been arranged through the Lloyd's market.

The campaign group Insure Our Future protested outside Lloyd's of London last month, criticising it for not taking “meaningful action” on climate change.

Insurers and reinsurers were asked by campaigners to state if they were supporting the mine project, which is expected to produce eight to ten million tons of thermal coal annually. A United Nations report has found that phasing out coal power worldwide by 2050 could limit global warming to 1.5C through reduced carbon emissions.

Argo said: “We are able to confirm that providing insurance for the Adani Carmichael project, its construction, contractors, infrastructure or operation are not within our risk appetite. Therefore we will not be providing insurance or reinsurance services associated with this project.”

Allied World Assurance Company said: “We do not insure the mine, rail or port projects and have no plans to do so in the future.”

Earlier this year Bermudian-based Aspen Re also said it would not be renewing any insurance policies associated with the Adani Carmichael mine.

Campaigners have contacted Lloyd's syndicates and have had replies from most of them, either on or off the record, ruling out the Adani project. There are about ten who have not provided an answer, and among them is Bermuda's Arch Capital.

The Royal Gazette has reached out to Arch Capital to ask about its position on the coalmine project, but has not received a response.

Joseph Sikulu, spokesman from 350 Pacific, one of the groups working on the Stop Adani campaign, said: “Insurance companies in the Lloyd's of London insurance marketplace are helping to facilitate the climate crisis by providing insurance for new climate wrecking coal projects like Adani's coalmine. Insurance companies should be helping to fast track an urgent transition from polluting fossil fuels to clean renewable energy, they should not be supporting and enabling climate destroying coal projects.”

He said Lloyd's and its insurers must follow leading peers and stop providing the insurance cover “that supports and enables climate destroying coal projects like Adani's Carmichael mine”.

Mr Sikulu added: “The Stop Adani movement is calling on all Lloyd's of London insurers to join with 20 major insurers and over 80 companies who have already said no to working with Adani on their climate wrecking coal project.

“Adani's proposed coalmine is a toxic disaster for the reputation of companies who choose to be involved with it. That's why major global insurers are walking away from it and that is why Lloyd's of London insurers should take a stand and immediately rule out providing any insurance for Adani's climate wrecking coal project and Adani's contractors.”

Industry shift: many insurance and reinsurance companies have pulled away from the coal and fossil fuel industries in the past few years. Argo Group and Allied World are the latest to rule out providing services for a planned major coalmine project in Australia (Photograph by Pixabay)

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Published October 02, 2020 at 8:00 am (Updated October 02, 2020 at 3:40 am)

More insurers spurn huge coalmine project

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