‘Insure Our Future’ in the North East

On 29th February 2024 as part of the global ‘Insure Our Future’ actions, rebels from Cumbria, Tyneside and Teesside took part in a mock funeral march to the Middlesbrough offices of major insurance company AXA. The march was followed by a die-in which clearly made the link between the devastating effects of the climate crisis and fossil fuel infrastructure projects.

The ‘Insure Our Future’ campaign called on insurers to step up and play their part in the transition away from fossil fuels. Fossil fuel projects cannot operate without insurance from the large specialist insurers who are in a powerful position to drive change by committing to no longer insuring new projects, and in particular publicly ruling out insurance for large ‘carbon bomb’ infrastructure projects that will lock in fossil fuel production for decades to come.

AXA is already moving in the right direction, having ruled out supporting the East Africa Crude Oil Pipeline, the Adani mine in Australia and any new gas projects. However, the campaign is calling for an absolute commitment to rule out all new fossil fuel projects, and specifically the West Cumbria Coal Mine, where the plans are to extract 2.78 million tonnes of coking coal annually, in what would be the UK’s first new underground coal mine in 30 years.

This action in the North East was one of many across the UK and indeed across the world. Alongside these actions on the streets, a digital action was organised that added real, targeted and meaningful pressure without even having to leave our homes! Throughout the week, there were an incredible 476,000 individual digital actions!

This pressure from XR and other organisations in the ‘Insure Our Future’ coalition did make a real difference eg. Probitas 1492, a major insurance company within the Lloyd’s market in London, confirmed in writing that the company is ruling out insuring the East African Crude Oil Pipeline (EACOP) and the West Cumbria Coal Mine. And what’s even more exciting is that the CEO of Zurich Insurance (the world’s 6th largest Fossil fuel insurer in 2022) signalled that he’s ready to enter into talks with Extinction Rebellion and members of the Insure Our Future coalition.