Insurer drops pipeline after climate witness

‘Following the global week of action... Probitas 1492 has publicly stated they will not insure the East African Crude Oil Pipeline or the West Cumbria Mine.'

A week of climate action targeting insurance companies and attended by many Quakers is already having an effect, campaigners have said.

Ilana Winterstein, a spokesperson for the Insure Our Future campaign, told the Friend: ‘Following the global week of action, I can confirm that Probitas 1492 has publicly stated they will not insure the East African Crude Oil Pipeline or the West Cumbria Mine, which is a huge success. Similarly, Zurich’s CEO has agreed to meet with campaigners, which is another sign that global action and campaigning can have a strong impact.’

‘The global week of action also succeeded in getting over 150 media hits worldwide,’ she said, ‘and raising the profile of the campaign with new audiences globally, which shows the strength of so many different groups coming together under shared demands’.

Many Friends were involved in the week-long witness, which included forming a human chain around the Lloyd’s of London insurance market, and marching to the London headquarters of the Axa insurance group, singled out as a facilitator of Israel’s illegal settlements. Axa is also the world’s sixth biggest underwriter of fossil fuel projects.

The week also saw campaigners, including Extinction Rebellion (XR) supporters, occupy the offices of Tokio Marine, Talbot/AIG, Zurich, Probitas and Travelers. In a mostly peaceful week – with XR counting fourteen arrests – a new activist group, Shut the System, claimed responsibility for more radical tactics. This involved painting the doors of the offices of Tokio Marine, AIG and Probitas blood red.

There were similar marches, rallies and protests targeting insurers in nearly thirty countries across five continents.

Paul Parker, recording clerk of Britain Yearly Meeting, was quoted in The Guardian in a report on the witness.

‘Those who offer financial backing and social legitimacy to new fossil fuel projects now have an urgent moral responsibility to change course,’ he said. ‘This duty extends to all sectors and all parts of society.’

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