Campaign grows to stop Marsh insurers from helping Adani

May 24, 2020
Coral Wynter appeals to Marsh Insurance. Photo: Jim McIlroy

A massive 650 people from across Australia connected on Zoom on May 19 to tell Marsh McLennan Insurance Brokers not to help Adani find insurance for its controversial coal mine in the Galilee Basin in western Queensland.

Adani still needs to find an insurance company willing to cover its coal mine. It has some insurance cover, but still needs other aspects of work to be insured.

Marsh is one of the three largest global insurance brokers in the world and is considered a big player in the energy sector. If it pulls out, Adani will be hard pressed to find another broker.

Auntie Deb from the Wangan and Jagalingou First Nations people, on whose land the mine is being constructed, addressed the meeting from outside the Brisbane headquarters of Marsh detailing how, among other things, the Queensland Labor government have removed native title rights for her people because they refused to give permission for the mine to be built.

Peter Day, a wildlife rescue officer, spoke about the summer’s ferocious fires while cradling a swamp wallaby in his arms. He described how forests, such as the wetland forests in the Snowy Mountains that have never burned, did on this occasion and said that an estimated 1 billion animals perished.

Sulakshana, an organiser with the Rainforest Action Network from Seattle Washington, discussed why Adani needs insurance brokers. She said the campaign against Marsh was driving a broader discussion in the United States about stopping insurance companies working for fossil fuel ventures and keeping fossil fuels in the ground.

She said Marsh McLennan is involved in the TransCanada Energy coastal pipeline across Canada, transporting natural gas fracked from British Colombia, through the Indigenous lands of the Wet’suwet’en, who hold title to the territory.

Tony Fontes, a diver from Airlie Beach in Queensland, spoke about the deteriorating health of the Great Barrier Reef. There have been three mass coral bleachings in the past five years, the latest in April. Fontes said that 50% of the reef has been lost.

Other speakers included Elise from the School Strike 4 Climate in Sydney, Jason from Redfern Stop Adani group, Louise from Galilee Blockade and Kallan Benson from the US who is organising a “Dump Coal, Fridays for the Future” campaign.

Marsh McLennan held its annual general meeting on May 21 in New York. Isaac Astill from environment group Tipping Point reported that, in response to a wave of questions from shareholders about Adani, Marsh announced it had a “new policy to decide which clients they would and would not work with”. It is inadequate, he said, but still leaves the door open for Marsh to rule out Adani. The policy states that “climate change mitigation” is key and that, if a project conflicts with this, Marsh “will review the proposed project to evaluate whether the work can proceed”.

Astill added: “The reason Marsh created this policy in the first place was because of relentless pressure from the Stop Adani grassroots movement. Moving a company of this size in the current global state of affairs is a remarkable feat.“

He said the movement will continue to pressure Marsh until it rules out working on Adani’s climate-wrecking coal mine.

[You can Tweet to tell @MarshGlobal and @MMC_Global to #stopAdani and #marshdumpAdani. Marsh CEOs are @laurieledford, @PBEshar, @ferland_martine and @scottmcdonaldow.]

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