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Insurance boss under fire from eco activists at London event

Insurance executive Stephen Catlin was literally made the poster child for anti-coal campaigners at the London Market Conference as it opened yesterday.

Activists have urged his Convex Insurance to join more than 40 other leading insurers and refuse insurance for the controversial Australian mega-coal mine Adani.

Convex is an international specialty insurer and reinsurer co-founded two years ago by Mr Catlin with operations in Bermuda and London.

The environmental organisation ‘Market Forces’ published a satirical recruitment video on Twitter, LinkedIn and YouTube — a video that Convex recently needed legal action to have removed, according to the activists.

But Market Forces also hired an advertising van with a huge digital screen to play the video in the vicinity of the insurance event attendees.

Insurance Insider’s London Market Conference is billed as the best-attended and the most thought-provoking strategic event for (re)insurance professionals, executives and advisers involved with the London market.

The eco activists are using the event’s prominence to pressure Convex to rule out underwriting the Adani Carmichael coal project. It says that Convex has not ruled out the project although more than 40 other insurers have.

In a statement to promote their cause, the environmentalists said: “The Adani Carmichael coalmine in Australia is one of the most environmentally and socially destructive projects on Earth.

”It will emit 4.6 billion tonnes of CO2 — equivalent to more than eight years of Australia’s annual greenhouse gas emissions — and unleash proposals for even larger mines in the Galilee Basin.

“If all these mines go ahead, the Galilee Basin alone could produce over 5 per cent of global carbon emissions by 2030. The scale of the mine is so vast that it puts global climate targets in danger.

“In late 2019, after being denied insurance by mainstream insurance companies, Adani was able to secure coverage for the Carmichael coal project via insurers at Lloyd’s of London.

”However, while Adani Carmichael has managed to obtain sufficient insurance so far, its options in the Lloyd’s marketplace are rapidly shrinking, with five of Adani’s current insurers — the latest being Ascot — now publicly refusing to renew their insurance policies associated with the project.

“So far, 106 companies have ruled out underwriting the project, including 42 major insurance companies.

“One notable exception is London-based Convex Insurance. This makes Convex one of the only major insurance companies left that is willing to underwrite the project.

“Earlier this month, Market Forces published a satirical recruitment video exposing Convex’s willingness to insure coal projects like Carmichael. The video faced backlash from the company and led to Convex engaging lawyers to successfully remove the video from YouTube, Twitter and LinkedIn.

“Activists played the video on a 4x2 metre screen ad van, as attendees arrived for the conference held in Houndsditch, City of London. Activists also gave out briefings to attendees about the egregious impacts that the coalmine, rail line and export terminal would have, if it goes ahead.

Mia Watanabe, UK Campaigner for Market Forces, said: “Convex is trying to censor a video about their involvement in financing dirty coal projects, so we’ve brought the video to their doorstep to show them that they have nowhere to hide.

“The recent end of the COP26 climate summit in Glasgow — where countries agreed to ‘phase down’ coal power — and the International Energy Agency’s Net Zero report showing the need for ‘huge declines’ in the use of coal, shows that no climate-conscious insurance company can underwrite new coal projects. With over 40 major insurers ruling out underwriting the Carmichael project so far, all eyes are now on Convex to cut ties with Adani.”

Attempts to reach Convex and Stephen Catlin were unsuccessful.

Advertising van in London with environmentalist video parody of Stephen Catlin and Convex Insurance

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Published November 25, 2021 at 7:53 am (Updated November 25, 2021 at 7:53 am)

Insurance boss under fire from eco activists at London event

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