Insurance companies are emerging as the latest focus in the continuing fight to stop construction of the Trans Mountain pipeline.
After the Supreme Court of Canada rejected a bid by three British Columbia First Nations to appeal the federal government’s re-approval of the controversial project, the communities made it clear they didn’t consider the matter closed. “Our decision to reject the project…will not be altered by a decision from the Canadian courts,” Tsleil-Waututh Chief Leah George-Wilson said last week. “We are not deterred.”
Now, the heat is on the insurance companies that have given the project the financial assurance to proceed. Last week, Stand.earth reported that German insurer Talanx had stepped away from the project, after reinsurance giant Munich Re signalled its intention to withdraw earlier in the year. And Leadnow is running a petition campaign to make the pipeline’s biggest underwriter, Zurich Insurance, the next to go.
“Insurers for the pipeline are already dropping like flies,” and “if Zurich rejects Trans Mountain’s request to renew their insurance, too, it could convince other insurers that the project is simply too risky to support. It would leave Trans Mountain scrambling to find coverage—and might just be enough to stop the project in its tracks,” Leadnow writes.
“But the deadline to renew is only a few weeks away—which means we have no time to lose if we’re going to convince Zurich’s advisors to drop Trans Mountain.”
Last week, Talanx and Munich Re laid out their positions in correspondence with Stand:
“As a matter of principle, Talanx no longer invests in companies that derive more than 25% of their revenue or generate more than 25% of their power from coal. In addition, oil sands have been added to the list of exclusion criteria for both investments and underwriting.”
“Munich Re has a policy on oils sands in place, covering both investments and insurance. We no longer insure the extraction of oil sands or related dedicated infrastructure on a single risk basis. And we do not invest in companies that generate >10% of their revenue from oil sands extraction.”