Coalition Denounces Decision, Pledges to Ramp Up Pressure on Remaining Insurers to Cut Ties with Trans Mountain

Today, the Canada Energy Regulator (CER) approved Trans Mountain’s request to hide the names of the companies providing insurance coverage for the existing pipeline project, despite widespread community opposition. Over the last few months, First Nations, politicians, insurance experts, and environmental organisations filed public comments calling on the CER to deny the request and ensure transparency around the identity of the pipeline’s insurers for Canadian taxpayers and impacted communities. The decision applies for subsequent years as well.

The Canada Energy Regulator (CER) is expanding Trans Mountain’s culture of secrecy when it should be doing the opposite, especially for a government owned company during a climate crisis. This is a dangerous precedent for the CER to set and it should be of major concern. By making the certificate of insurance confidential and removing a layer of transparency, the CER has reduced the options for Tsleil Waututh Nation to assert our inherent and constitutionally protected Aboriginal rights and fulfill our sacred obligation to protect and steward our territory.

Charlene Aleck, spokesperson for Tsleil-Waututh Nation Sacred Trust Initiative

Following today’s decision, a broad coalition of Indigenous communities and global environmental groups are planning to ramp up pressure on the insurers that have not yet ruled out supporting Trans Mountain, starting with those that were named on the certificate of insurance in 2020. Those companies include: AIG, Chubb, Energy Insurance Limited, Liberty Mutual, Lloyd’s of London, Marsh, Starr, and Stewart Specialty Risk Underwriting. 

These insurers can’t hide. Any company that refuses to rule out insuring tar sands extraction and pipeline projects is complicit in Indigenous rights violations. By not dropping Trans Mountain, insurers are also making a misguided business decision. Our presence and our assertions of Indigenous jurisdiction and territorial authority to our lands represent major risks to the construction and financial liability of the expansion project.

Kanahus Manuel, Secwepemc and Ktunaxa land defender with the Tiny House Warriors

Lloyd’s of London is understood to still be the largest insurer of the project. When filing the request, Trans Mountain claimed that public pressure was causing insurers to drop the project. In 2020, Zurich, Munich Re and Talanx (or their subsidiaries) were each named in the certificate and each subsequently committed not to renew insurance for the project due to its climate impacts. That certificate also named “Various Lloyd’s Underwriters” and analysis of it showed them to be Trans Mountains largest insurers. Lloyd’s has consistently refused to comment.

Trans Mountain’s appeal to hide the names of its insurers only demonstrates that this tar sands pipeline has no social licence to operate. Lloyd’s was known to be the largest insurer of the project before this cover-up, and pressure on Lloyd’s to stop underwriting this climate-wrecking project will only increase until the marketplace drops it. Established by an act of Parliament, Lloyd’s should, in the year the UK hosts COP26, be a global ambassador for climate leadership, not the insurer of last resort for unacceptable fossil fuel projects from Canada and Australia to the North Sea and The Bahamas.

Lindsay Keenan, European Coordinator, Insure Our Future