Lloyd’s Moves to End Insurance and Investments in Coal for Climate Sustainability

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The Lloyd’s market is moving to end its insurance of coal and oil sands businesses while at the same time ceasing investments in such carbon-producing assets by Jan. 1, 2022.

As part of its plan to accelerate the transition to a more sustainable insurance and reinsurance marketplace, Lloyd’s has developed a market-wide strategy that aims to align with the United Nations’ Sustainable Development Goals and supports the principles included in the Paris Agreement on climate (which marked its fifth anniversary in December 2020).

A major part of its sustainability strategy is to ask Lloyd’s managing agents to phase out new insurance cover for thermal coal-fired power plants, thermal coal mines, oil sands or new Arctic energy exploration activities from Jan. 1, 2022. The strategy also includes ending new investments in these areas by Lloyd’s market participants and by the Corporation of Lloyd’s from Jan. 1, 2022, according to Lloyd’s first Environmental, Social and Governance Report 2020.

Read more: Climate Change Poses Much Greater Existential Risk for the World Than COVID-19

Existing investments in companies with business models that derive 30% or more of their revenues from these carbon-producing activities will be phased out by the end of 2025.

To enable the market to support customers during the transition period, the target date for phasing out the renewal of existing insurance cover for coal and oil sands facilities and activities is Jan. 1, 2030 (including for companies with business models which derive 30% or more of their revenues from any of these activities). Existing investments in companies with business models that derive 30% or more of their revenues from such carbon-producing assets will be phased out by the end of 2025.

Other insurers and reinsurers such as Allianz, AXA, AXIS Capital, Chubb, Generali, Hannover Re, The Hartford, Liberty Mutual, Munich Re, QBE, SCOR, Swiss Re and Zurich Insurance have already cut their insurance and/or investments in carbon-producing fossil fuel businesses and activities. (See related story: Are Employees Pushing Insurers to Shun Coal in Climate Change Movement)

More Urgent Action Needed

The Insure Our Future climate action group said Lloyd’s is taking a step in the right direction with its move to stop providing new insurance cover for coal and oil businesses, but more urgent action is needed.

“[T]he policy should take effect now, not 2022. Additionally, the target date for Lloyd’s to phase out existing policies should be January 2021 for companies still developing new coal and tar sand projects. Lloyd’s 2030 deadline is not justified by climate science and the urgent need for action,” said Lindsay Keenan, European Coordinator for Insure Our Future, in an emailed statement. Insure Our Future is a global coalition of non-governmental organizations and social movements pressuring insurance companies to get out of the coal, oil and gas business and support the transition to clean energy.

‘Sustainable, Responsible Underwriting’

With its ESG strategy, Lloyd’s said it is announcing for the first time “publicly accountable targets for responsible underwriting and investment.”

Bruce Carnegie-Brown, chairman of Lloyd’s ESG committee and chairman of Lloyd’s commented that the strategy “represents an important milestone on the journey towards building a more sustainable future.”

“We have the opportunity to play our part in building back a braver, more resilient world. We recognise that the targets we are setting will be challenging, but will also bring new opportunities,” he added. “We will work closely with our market and customers to help them plan for these changes as we implement a long-term managed programme towards sustainable, responsible underwriting.”

Lloyd’s ESG strategy includes a commitment to continue diversity and cultural change within the market, driven, in part, by setting regularly measured targets. These include a phase-one target of 35% female representation in leadership positions across the market (to be achieved by Dec. 31, 2023), and new targets for Black and Minority Ethnic representation in leadership positions to be announced in 2021. (Editor’s note: these cultural changes were first initiated in 2019, after reports surfaced in the press of rampant sexual harassment in the Lloyd’s market).

Additional ESG commitments set out in the report include the following:

Source: Lloyd’s