Convex answers critics over coalmine issue
Convex, the international specialty insurer and reinsurer, has for the first time answered criticisms that it had failed to join more than 40 major insurers who had publicly ruled out insuring the controversial Adani Carmichael mega-coalmine project in Australia.
Convex – founded by the two insurance chieftains Stephen Catlin and Paul Brand – is prominently positioned in Bermuda, Europe and London with vast industry knowledge and a legacy free balance sheet.
But the UK pressure group Market Forces has held the company’s feet to the fire over the coal issue, and through an effective publicity campaign and public demonstrations – including here in Bermuda – demanded that Catlin and Convex say where they stand on providing insurance cover to the massive mining project.
And in finally explaining the Convex position this week, a statement was quietly uploaded to the corporate website, although not widely released.
It said: “Client confidentiality is a fundamental principle at Convex and, as such, it is our policy, along with many other financial institutions, not to comment publicly about our clients or any specific risk.
“However, we feel obliged to correct inaccurate and misleading information concerning our alleged involvement in a new coalmine in Australia, which has been published both on social media and copied, unchecked, in certain media outlets.
“Unfortunately, this campaign has the potential to unfairly affect a number of our environmental and sustainability partners, connected with the recently announced Convex Seascape Survey.
“The Convex Seascape Survey brings together a multidisciplinary team made up of world-class ocean and blue-carbon scientists.
“This ambitious five-year global research programme is the largest attempt yet to build a greater understanding of the properties and capabilities of the ocean and its continental shelves in the earth’s carbon cycle, as a part of the urgent effort to address climate change.
“In our view, it would be a terrible irony if a science research project of this importance was impacted by a false rumour about the insurer that sponsors it.
“Therefore, we would like to confirm that, in line with our ESG policy, we will not insure the construction or operation of any new thermal coalmine and/or its dedicated infrastructure.”
Market Forces were quick to react that the company had acknowledged that their lack of clarity regarding its position was a reputational threat.
The campaign’s response added: “Adani’s Carmichael coal project has triggered a mass exodus of insurers and financiers who are unwilling to support new thermal coal mines due to their contribution to climate change.
“Convex is the 43rd insurer to rule out underwriting of Adani’s mega mine that will produce 4.6 billion tonnes of carbon pollution and open the largest new coal basin in the world, the Galilee Basin in central Queensland Australia.
“In total, 108 major companies have publicly rejected Carmichael.”
One Market Forces campaigner, Riario Sforza, stated: “Every insurance company on Earth should be running a mile from Adani’s climate-wrecking coalmine.
“The fact there are now 43 major insurers on the public record saying they won’t touch the Carmichael project demonstrates the reputational risk any company associated with it faces.”
“Now, all eyes are on Helvetia Group and Lloyd’s of London. Helvetia needs to clarify its current and intended future relationship to the Adani Carmichael project, while Lloyd’s must now confirm that no syndicate of the Lloyd's market will issue new, or renew existing, insurance for the Adani Carmichael coalmine and associated infrastructure.”