Extinction Rebellion has blocked access to the market as it calls on re/insurers to stop insuring fossil fuel projects

More than 60 people from climate movement Extinction Rebellion (XR) blocked the entrances at Lloyd’s of London headquarters on the morning of Tuesday 12 April, preventing staff from entering the building.

The action is aimed to disrupt business in the iconic market at 1 Lime Street. Extinction Rebellion is demanding that Lloyd’s syndicates cease insuring fossil fuel projects, and highlighted the Trans Mountain Pipeline extension in Canada.

Activists used superglue, chains and bike locks, to block over twenty-five entrances to the building. Staff already inside were allowed to exit.

Climbers also scaled the outside of the Norman Foster designed building and dropped two banners, saying ‘End Fossil Fuels Now’ and ‘Insure Climate Justice’.

Clare Walmsley, a spokesperson from Extinction Rebellion, said: “We’re here to demand an end to all new fossil fuel investments and insurance. By underwriting the world’s most deadly fossil fuel projects, they are creating climate chaos – floods, famine, wildfires and death.

”Insuring new oil and gas projects in the North Sea will do nothing to solve the cost of living crisis either. Instead, it locks us into a system that’s already pushing millions into poverty.” 

Craig Welsby, a spokesperson from Extinction Rebellion, added: “Lloyd’s CEO John Neil isn’t just refusing to take action to avoid climate breakdown, but is actively blocking efforts by other members of the Lloyd’s team to take action.

“In 2022 Lloyd’s unveiled a policy that would have seen the most polluting fossil fuels, coal and tar sand, blacklisted from the marketplace.

”Instead, we’re now told their policy isn’t worth the paper it’s written on. To safeguard a liveable planet, we need to stop fossil fuel expansion today, not recklessly squeeze every last bit of profit.”

The Trans Mountain Pipeline in Canada has been fiercely opposed by Indigenous communities whose land it cuts through, and would allow a dramatic increase in the amount of tar sands Canada could export, shipping 590,000 barrels per day of tar sands crude.

Lloyd’s carriers are amongst the insurers listed on the project’s most recent public certificate. The market is under intense pressure to rule out underwriting the project, with sixteen insurers taking action and cutting ties with the project to date.

XR argues the Lloyd’s market is lagging behind other global insurance companies on ending insurance of fossil fuel projects. It points out that Swiss Re, Hannover Re and Mapfre have all committed to enhanced oil and gas policies.

In a statement in response to the demonstrations, Lloyd’s said it “supports safe and constructive engagement on climate change” and is “continuing to work to support a responsible transition”.

It said it had advised Corporation employees and market participants not to come into the building, adding: “The market remains open and trading is continuing online using our remote capabilities”.

Previous protests outside the market have included a tipper truck to dumping a large pile of fake coal outside the entrance, green paint being thrown over the building to highlight their greenwash, 1000 litres fake oil spill and a climate memorial led by Pacific Inlanders, who had travelled to the UK for the COP26 climate talks.