European insurers have increased their support for Canada's Trans Mountain tar sands oil pipeline over the last year, potentially undermining global climate targets, the Unfriend Coal campaign has warned.
The network of NGOs said that Lloyd’s, Zurich and Munich Re are the biggest supporters of the pipeline, which plans to boost capacity to an extra 590,000 oil barrels a day.
Trans Mountain's certificate of insurance shows that the project has attracted $508m (£416m) of liability cover for the 12 months to August 31, with the Lloyd's market having underwritten $460m.
Zurich is solely responsible for $8m of cover, but since last year has doubled the cover it provides jointly with other insurers to $300m, despite adopting a policy against insuring tar sands.
Munich Re's Canadian subsidiary Temple Insurance remains Trans Mountain’s third biggest insurer, providing $250m of cover, while Chubb’s European operations have also increased their support significantly since last year.
This comes after separate research from Carbon Tracker found that no tar sands projects are consistent with the Paris Agreement, and that any new investments risk becoming stranded assets.
Peter Bosshard, international coordinator for Unfriend Coal, said: “Zurich and Munich Re have recognised the risks from high-carbon tar sands, and together with Chubb and Liberty Mutual have restricted cover for coal.
“However, their choice to continue or even increase their support for Trans Mountain calls into question their commitment to supporting international climate targets in practice.”
Liberty Mutual, Energy Insurance Mutual; AIG Insurance Co. of Canada, Stewart Speciality Risk Underwriting, WR Berkley, HDI Global SE of Canada, and Starr are also listed on pipeline's certificate of insurance.
The Unfriend Coal campaign said that expansion would be equivalent to putting an additional 2.2 million cars on the road, and would also pose grave threats to indigenous rights.
Kukpi7 Judy Wilson, secretary-treasurer of the Union of British Columbia Indian Chiefs, and Chief of the Neskonlith Indian Band, said: “The companies named on this insurance certificate are complicit in Indigenous rights violations and the impacts to our lands and waterways.
“We will continue to advocate against the insurers backing the Trans Mountain pipeline and its expansion and call on all insurance companies to adopt stringent fossil fuel policies.”