Liberty Mutual: don’t insure Adani

April 8, 2019

Pressure is building on Liberty Mutual to rule out the project.

By Elana Sulakshana, Energy Finance Campaigner at Rainforest Action Network

An Indian company is desperately clinging to its plans to build one of the world’s largest coal mines in Eastern Australia. In addition to being a massive source of carbon emissions, Adani Group’s Carmichael coal mine threatens the rights of the Indigenous Wangan and Jagalingou people, and the Great Barrier Reef’s diverse ecosystems.

Under pressure from campaigners, 11 insurance companies have pledged not to provide insurance for the controversial project, but U.S. insurance giant Liberty Mutual so far has refused to stay away from this massive carbon bomb.

The Insure Our Future campaign, made up of leading climate, consumer, and environmental justice organizations in the U.S., recently launched a petition with SumOfUs, calling on Liberty Mutual to take a stand against the destructive mine. More than 10,000 people have already called on Liberty Mutual to steer clear of the Adani mine – add your name here.

As I wrote in World Coal earlier this month, “The toxicity of Adani’s proposed Carmichael coal mine – not just environmentally and socially, but reputationally as well – has made the project a base test of credibility for any global financial institution wanting to be taken seriously as a climate change risk manager.” This is why the campaigns opposing the mine have managed to collect over three dozen commitments from banks pledging not to finance the project, and Adani has had to resort to self-financing the venture.

Without insurance Adani won’t be able to obtain the necessary government permits to start construction, and unlike project financing, Adani cannot self-insure a project of this scale.

The Unfriend Coal campaign wrote to the major global insurance companies in December of last year, calling on them to not insure the Carmichael coal mine. Within two weeks, 10 companies had expressed their intention to not provide insurance coverage for the project or had policies in place that ruled out such coverage. Since then, more insurers – including Australia’s own QBE – have come out with new coal exit policies, further limiting Adani’s coverage options.

If major insurance companies rule out backing Adani’s mine, we could stop this disastrous project once and for all. However, we are still awaiting a response from Liberty Mutual. Liberty Mutual is the third largest insurer in the North American power market and a major player in energy insurance overseas, including in Australia.

When it comes to climate change, Liberty Mutual employs cutting-edge climate modelling and analytics. Furthermore, the company recently launched an insurance product specifically designed to cover corporate boards of directors in the case of climate change litigation.

Liberty Mutual knows that we are hurtling towards climate catastrophe, but the company continues to profit off the fossil fuels driving us there. The insurer has zero policies in place that restrict involvement in coal and other fossil fuels, or guidelines to prevent insuring projects that have not secured the free, prior, and informed consent (FPIC) of Indigenous communities.

To avoid catastrophic climate change, the science is conclusive that we must leave all coal in the ground. That means no new coal projects and a just transition to renewable energy. Liberty Mutual must publicly forswear involvement in Adani for the health of our planet, the land rights of Indigenous people, and the unique environment of the Great Barrier Reef.

In just a few weeks, the Insure Our Future campaign will be at Liberty Mutual’s headquarters in Boston, Massachusetts to deliver this message loud and clear. Will you add your voice and call on Liberty Mutual to stay away from the toxic project?

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