Climate activists interrupt premier global insurance conference

July 18, 2017

Climate activists call on Insurers to stop underwriting coal projects in the next six months to avoid catastrophic climate change.


London, Tuesday July 18th 2017, climate activists intervened at the annual International Insurance Society conference [1] this morning, to call on the global insurance industry to demonstrate commitment to insuring the world against climate chaos by ceasing to underwrite coal projects in the next six months.

Unfurling a banner with the words “World’s best insurance? Keeping Coal in the Ground” the activists spoke to the conference attendees and distributed brochures about the failure of the insurance industry to protect society from climate risk and urged the companies to stop insuring coal projects.

The intervention at the London conference comes only weeks after activists took action in San Francisco [2] at a CEO gathering with these three following recommendations for the global insurance industry:

  1. Stop insuring coal projects and divest from coal companies;
  2. Develop plans to move away from other fossil fuels; and
  3. Scale up their investments in clean energy sources.

“Divest London took part in this action today because we support Unfriend Coal’s demand for the insurance industry to cease underwriting destructive coal projects, “ said Chelsea Edwards from Divest London. “We must avoid the financial and environmental risks of backing this industry and the best way to ensure that is to keep coal in the ground. We call on all public and private institutions in London to cut ties with the reckless fossil fuel industry, which is driving runaway climate change[3].”

“French insurance company Axa have already committed to stop underwriting coal [4] amidst growing nervousness in the global insurance industry [5] of the calculable risks posed by climate change to the company’s reputation, the economy and our communities, ” said environmental justice and divestment campaigner Suzanne Dhaliwal, from the UK Tar Sands Network.

“We took action today because frontline communities and scientists have long been saying that the impacts of climate change pose massive risks to the stability of the global economy and society, and now it’s time to translate that into concrete action. It is imperative that the insurance industry continue to transition away from underwriting coal and highly polluting fossil fuels immediately [6] and shift to scale up investments in renewable technology.”

For more information, press interviews and images, contact [7] :

Suzanne Dhaliwal (Director, UK Tar Sands Network) London + 44 (0)7772694327

Peter Bosshard (Director, Finance Program, The Sunrise Project) US +1 (510) 213 1438  


Notes for editors:

[1]  ‘Global Resilience and the Role of Insurance’  forum runs July 17th to 20th 2017.  http://www.internationalinsurance.org/events/global-insurance-forum/london-2017/about-the-forum/

[2]  https://unfriendcoal.com/2017/06/16/ngos-crash-global-insurance-meet-in-sf-demanding-exit-from-coal/

[3] Divest London https://twitter.com/divestlondon?lang=en

[4] https://www.theguardian.com/environment/2015/may/22/axa-divest-high-risk-coal-funds-due-threat-climate-change

[5] https://unfriendcoal.com/2017/04/26/first-big-insurer-quits-coal-as-new-campaign-targets-insurers-hypocrisy-on-climate/


[7] For more information about the Sunrise Project and Unfriend Coal global coalition https://unfriendcoal.com/ and UK Tar Sands Network http://ww.no-tar-sands.org


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