50,000 sign petition urging insurance companies to drop Trans Mountain coverage

Lead insurer has renewed contract with Canadian government

More than 50,000 people are urging insurance companies not to provide coverage for the Trans Mountain pipeline, according to activists who delivered a petition to the project’s lead insurer Thursday. 

The petition, organized by a coalition of 32 groups, calls on 27 insurers to drop their policies ahead of an Aug. 31 renewal deadline. If the pipeline loses its private insurance, the Candian government will be forced to put public money at risk to insure its assets, the group said in a press release.

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Members of anti-pipeline group Stand.earth brought a copy of their petition with 50,631 signatures to the Vancouver office of Zurich Insurance Group on Thursday, according to a press release.

“Canada’s oil sands industry, which is one of the most climate intensive forms of oil in the world, cannot be allowed to continue to grow – or we will lose in our global fight to maintain a climate-afe world for future generations. That is why stopping the expansion of this pipeline is so important," Stand.earth campaigner Sven Biggs said in a statement. 

Spokesperson David Hilgen said Zurich renewed its contract with Trans Mountain “because it is consistent with our approach to sustainability, which is based on an open dialogue to encourage customers to transition away from carbon-intense activities.” 

He said the Swiss insurer is committed to limiting carbon emissions and will continue to challenge the Canadian government “about their plans.”

“Our positions on sustainability issues aren’t set in stone,” Hilgen wrote in an email. “If at any point we should conclude that they aren’t contributing enough to drive the low-carbon transition, we will certainly consider amending them.”

Trans Mountain has said it’s not concerned about obtaining the insurance it needs.

"Trans Mountain has all the required and necessary insurance in place for our existing operations and for the expansion project and we will do so moving forward," a company spokesperson told the Canadian Press.

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