Insurance firms urged to stop coverage of Trans Mountain pipeline

Activists point to institutions’ support of Paris climate change agreement and Indigenous rights

A coalition of environmental and Indigenous groups is calling on insurance companies to drop or refuse to provide coverage of the Trans Mountain pipeline, although they concede its lead liability insurer is planning to continue coverage.

The coalition of 32 groups says in a news release on Thursday that if it can convince insurers to bow out of covering the pipeline and its recently approved expansion project beyond an Aug. 31 renewal date, Ottawa will be forced to self-insure, which will put public dollars at risk.

In a copy of a letter sent to 27 insurers, the activists ask them to avoid the “reputational and financial risk” of supporting the pipeline from Edmonton to Burnaby, B.C., in view of the institutions’ commitments to support the Paris climate change agreement and Indigenous rights.

Only 12 of the companies responded to the letter, the coalition says, with most refusing to discuss their dealings with specific clients.

The coalition says that Switzerland-based Zurich Insurance Group, however, has indicated it plans to continue to insure the existing Trans Mountain pipeline, a position the group says betrays its climate change and Indigenous rights commitments.

READ MORE: Is Trans Mountain a pipeline to prosperity for Indigenous communities?

It provided a copy of a letter it says is from the company’s CEO, noting that while the company’s policy is to restrict insuring oilsands assets, its position is to talk to the Trans Mountain owner, the federal government, to sort out its climate change goals and clarify whether the pipeline is actually “dedicated” to oilsands.

“It’s clear Zurich needs to commit to not insure the pipeline expansion,” said Tzeporah Berman, international program director at Stand.earth, in the release.

“We are encouraged by Zurich’s recent policy, and we are calling on other insurance companies to stop insuring the expansion of the fossil fuel industry.”

The Canadian Press

Like us on Facebook and follow us on Twitter

Trans Mountain pipeline

Just Posted

Our community news matters

Guest editorial by Arnold Malone

The GoPro that refused to drown

A snorkler found a submerged GoPro and used the camera footage to find the owners

Shuswap Indian Band supports students, voices concerns for families

Shuwap Indian Band collaborates with school district on crafts, workbooks, worksheets and contests

Group home offers solace through pandemic

Rolf Heer says “life is good” at Columbia Garden Village

B.C. records no new COVID-19 deaths for the first time in weeks

Good news comes despite 11 new test-positive cases in B.C. in the past 24 hours

BC Corrections to expand list of eligible offenders for early release during pandemic

Non-violent offenders are being considered for early release through risk assessment process

Fraser Valley driver featured on ‘Highway Thru Hell’ TV show dies

Monkhouse died Sunday night of a heartattack, Jamie Davis towing confirmed

B.C. visitor centres get help with COVID-19 prevention measures

Destination B.C. gearing up for local, in-province tourism

Introducing the West Coast Traveller: A voyage of the mind

Top armchair travel content for Alaska, Yukon, BC, Alberta, Washington, Oregon and California!

36 soldiers test positive for COVID-19 after working in Ontario, Quebec care homes

Nearly 1,700 military members are working in long-term care homes overwhelmed by COVID-19

B.C. poison control sees spike in adults, children accidentally ingesting hand sanitizer

Hand sanitizer sales and usage have gone up sharply amid COVID-19 pandemic

Most Read