Extinction Rebellion launches major campaign to demand all insurers dump fossil fuel crooks after big Zurich win - Extinction Rebellion UK

Extinction Rebellion launches major campaign to demand all insurers dump fossil fuel crooks after big Zurich win

Email: press@extinctionrebellion.uk
Phone: +44(0)7756136396

Facebook | Twitter | Instagram | YouTube

Extinction Rebellion UK today (Tuesday) vowed to step up direct action pressure on the global insurance industry after Zurich, the sixth biggest insurer of fossil fuels, announced they will stop insuring new oil and gas after a week of protests by thousands of activists.

Extinction Rebellion UK staged protests, marches and building occupations in the City of London and in towns and cities across the UK during a dramatic and high-profile week of actions in February 2024 alongside the Insure Our Future coalition of movements that demanded insurers stop insuring the fossil fuel industry.

Yesterday (Monday) the Bloomberg business news site reported that Zurich Insurance Group AG will no longer underwrite new oil and gas projects, and is cracking down on clients planning to expand in coal mining for the steel industry [1]. That would appear to rule out the West Cumbria coal mine in the UK.

Sierra Signorelli, chief executive of commercial insurance at Zurich, said the decision – which includes plans to take the key new step of insisting all fossil fuel clients are genuinely implementing their much-touted plans to transition away from oil, gas and coal – was necessary to allow the insurer to hit net zero emissions by 2050.

“Further exploration and development of fossil fuels isn’t required for the transition,” Signorelli said when talking about what Bloomberg experts called ‘a meaningful policy shift for the company.’ 

Extinction Rebellion spokesperson Jamie Anderson said:

“This is a big win for us and a clear signal that sustained direct action protests work. It’s a very significant step toward a world in which fossil fuel crooks will have to stop drilling for oil, gas and coal because without insurance their planet-wrecking operations are too financially risky.

“We welcome Zurich’s first steps in reducing their future insurance coverage of the fossil fuel industry. The business has begun to put itself on the right side of history. But by continuing to insure existing oil and gas, Zurich is still supercharging the climate crisis and increasing the floods and wildfires that are making more and more of our homes uninsurable.

“For Extinction Rebellion, this is the start of  a major campaign to stop all these insurers flooding more UK homes every year whilst charging us for it. By insuring oil and gas companies to dig up more of the products causing extreme weather, they make flooding and fires more likely. Then they double-cross us all by charging more to insure our homes – against flooding and fires. 

“To stop that happening in future, we will be staging direct action interventions to pile the pressure on general insurers who continue to enable oil, gas and coal projects and infrastructure. And we will be demanding that other insurers follow in Zurich’s footsteps and go even further.

“We are currently choosing targets for our next wave of actions against the insurers enabling oil, gas and coal extraction and expansion. So now is a good time for announcing plans to dump the fossil fuel industry rapidly and for good.

“Dirty home Insurers such as Aviva, AXA, AIG, Hiscox, Generali, QBE & Travelers are very much in our sights. We urge everyone to boycott dirty insurers and switch to clean car & home insurers who don’t have oily fingers in fossil fuels.”

Zurich’s announcement comes days ahead of its AGM on April 10, at which at least 50 activists from Campax, Collectif Breakfree, Eko and other activist groups will attend to keep the pressure on shareholders to dump fossil fuels completely. 

Peter Bosshard, Global Coordinator of the Insure Our Future campaign, says:

“The new policy from Zurich is a direct response to the Global Week of Action in March, in which thousands of activists protested against insurers in 31 countries around the world. Kudos to everyone involved – you did this!” 

According to calculations of the Insure Our Future campaign, 18 insurers with a market share of 20% in primary insurance and 47% in reinsurance have now adopted oil and gas restrictions after activist campaigns. In total, 47 insurers are getting out of coal.

Join Extinction Rebellion’s Stop Insuring Climate Breakdown campaign | Donate to Extinction Rebellion and keep the pressure on


Notes to editor

[1] Zurich Insurance to Halt Coverage of New Fossil-Fuel Exposures, Bloomberg, 08 April 2024: https://www.bloomberg.com/news/articles/2024-04-08/zurich-insurance-to-halt-coverage-of-new-fossil-fuel-exposures

About Extinction Rebellion

Extinction Rebellion (XR) is a decentralised, international and politically non-partisan movement using non-violent direct action and civil disobedience to persuade governments to act justly on the Climate and Ecological Emergency.

Donate | Support our work
What Emergency? | Read about the true scale of the climate crisis
XR UK Local Groups | View a map of all local groups
XR UK website | Find out more about XRUK
XR Global website | Discover what’s going on in XR around the globe!

Related topics

climate breakdown climate emergency fossil fuels gas and oil insurance insure our future

Sign up for news