Cheat sheet about XR UK, XR Scotland and Insure our Future campaign messaging

From February 26 – March 3, Extinction Rebellion will be targeting insurance companies  as part of a Global Week of Action (GWOA) in over 30 countries around the world.

These actions will pressure all insurers to rule out covering fossil fuel expansion, and stop insuring ‘carbon bomb’ projects, which collectively produce the equivalent of 18 years of current global CO2 emissions.

Insure Our Future is a global network of NGOs and social movements that hold the insurance industry accountable for its role in the climate crisis. XR Scotland is joining XR UK and other groups around the world, especially in solidarity with frontline communities and activists in the Global South.

The effects of the climate crisis are already being felt on every continent – from water shortages to rising food costs.

Insurance companies are actively worsening the climate crisis by continuing to insure new oil and gas projects, including carbon bom projects that alone would drive the climate past internationally agreed temperature limits with catastrophic global impacts. No insurance company has policies that align with global climate targets.

Carbon bomb projects include the East African Crude Oil Pipeline (EACOP). Thanks to local communities uncovering human rights abuses and severe pollution risks, 28 global insurers have publicly ruled out EACOP. More need to step-up.

The West Cumbria Mine is another project in what would be the UK’s first new underground coal mine in 30 years. Five insurers that have already ruled out underwriting the mine.

Climate change threatens the insurance industry’s ability to do business. If our climate becomes more risky and unpredictable, the world becomes less insurable. 

Climate-related disasters, like floods and storms, have doubled costs for insurance companies in the last ten years. Since 2017, insurers have paid out, on average, $110 billion a year due to extreme weather events. Meanwhile, fossil fuel insurance earned the insurance industry only around $21.25 billion in 2022.

Extreme weather events and an overheating climate are already costing billions for insurers. In response, insurance companies are either raising prices for ordinary families, or completely abandoning homeowners in vulnerable areas (in both the Global South and North in places like California, Florida and Louisiana) yet are still insuring climate breakdown.

Families face a triple whammy of impacts: damage to their health from pollution, extreme weather, and rising insurance costs (or worse – no cover). 

Insurers can play a key role in securing a clean, livable future for us all by shifting support away from fossil fuels and towards clean energy.

This is not just the view of activists – it is a mainstream, globally agreed consensus amongst scientists and energy experts. The UN Secretary General, Antonio Guterres, has said: ‘Investing in new fossil fuels is moral and economic madness.’ 

Insurance companies can either be the heroes by protecting communities, or the villains by continuing fossil fuel expansion that threatens a livable future.

More information