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

Get local stories you won't find anywhere else right to your inbox.
Sign up here

Just Posted

Editorial: Mask wearing: innocuous advice has turned into polarizing war

Somehow, this innocuous recommendation has become a polarizing war for some.

UPDATED: Young deckhands backed out of fatal Arctic Fox II trip just before fishboat departed

Inexperienced twin brothers had ‘gut feeling’ and bailed before going to open ocean

Cowichan’s Dillabaugh checks in from the NHL bubble in Toronto

Flyers’ Duncan-born goalie coach weighs in on hockey restart

37-year-old man missing from Cobble Hill area

He is described as a First Nations man, 5 foot 8 in height

Five new handyDART buses serving Cowichan

Buses to replace older vehicles being removed from the fleet

B.C. records new COVID-19 death, 85 more cases; Horgan calls on celebrity help

This brings the total number of active confirmed cases to 531 across the province

B.C. announces multi-year plan to double treatment beds for youth with addiction

This will bring the total number of new beds specific to those 12 to 24 years old to 247 province-wide

B.C. man who nearly died from COVID-19 reflects on one-month battle

Robert Billyard was in an induced coma to ensure his body would not fight the ventilator to breathe

Wedding party bear sprayed at Okanagan campsite irks locals

Latest criminal activity at the Meadows leaves locals frustrated

Paramedics fired for allowing patient to crawl for treatment on Downtown Eastside: court documents

The man spent three days in intensive care and three months recovering in hospital from sepsis

Feds seeking private consultant to design firearm buyback program

The ban covers some 1,500 models and variants of what the government considers assault-style weapons

Face masks for teachers can impact learning on young children, experts say

Face coverings, mandatory in most indoor public places across the province, can help limit the spread of COVID-19

Horvat scores 2 as Vancouver Canucks beat Blues 5-2 in NHL playoff opener

Game 2 in best-of-seven series goes Friday night

Most Read