Published: 17:25, 05 August 2021
| Updated: 19:10, 05 August 2021
A protester was arrested after showering offices of one of the world's biggest fossil fuel insurance companies in paint.
Climate change campaigner Richard Eyre hurled a bucket of green water-based paint at the Lloyd's of London base in Chatham.
XR campaigner Richard Eyre targets Lloyd's offices in Chatham
The protest held by members of the Extinction Rebellion (XR) offshoot Insurance Rebellion on Tuesday was aimed at shaming the company's latest environmental strategy.
Mr Eyre said the company is "greenwashing" the public into thinking its business is trying to protect the planet while profiting from some of the biggest fossil fuel projects.
The 52-year-old told KentOnline: "In terms of what they do they are facilitating some of the biggest climate wrecking projects on the planet.
"Our call is to stop insuring all fossil fuel projects now.
"Their statement on the surface of it sounds good but they're not actually making any commitments and allows them to continue business as usual.
"If you're being cynical it's an amount to deceive the public and that's what we were trying to highlight."
Insurance Rebellion claim Lloyd's insures about 40% of the global energy market with the majority of those operating fossil fuels.
Mr Eyre, from Gravesend, said these include the Adani coal mine in Australia, the Alberta tar sands pipeline in Canada and the West Cumbria coal mine in the UK which allows them "to carry on with business as usual".
He said the green paint daubed across the front of the Lloyd's building in Chatham Maritime is not designed "to cause lasting damage".
Police were called shortly after 8.30am after Mr Eyre sat down outside the building with placards calling for an end to supporting big fossil fuel business.
"It allows us to put pressure on and force a position of dialogue," he added.
"I think we did get our message across but it was received as expected. They didn't want to press charges and expect they want to sweep it under the carpet."
Mr Eyre, who has been protesting with XR for the past 10 years, said one of the aims of the protest was to inform people about the "role they play in fossil fuels and Arctic exploration".
He added: "The police gave me an option to walk away and I said I would stay here as long as possible and at which point I was arrested, processed and released without charge.
"You prepare yourself and whatever will be will be – it's part of being an activist. The police treated me with dignity and respect and it wasn't a traumatic experience."
Police spokesman James Walker confirmed officers were called at 8.26am and arrested a man on suspicion of criminal damage.
He added: "Following consultation with the affected business, the individual was later released without charge."
A spokesman from Lloyd's said: "We are accelerating its transition towards a more sustainable insurance and reinsurance marketplace, and has set out specific actions and commitments to align with the goals of the Paris Agreement.
"We are actively involved in constructive engagement across the industry to reduce coverage of fossil fuels and to combat climate change. We continue to explore the ways in which Lloyd’s can support a responsible transition, recognising the importance of business planning cycles and supporting our customers.
"We have asked managing agents to no longer provide new insurance cover for thermal coal-fired power plants, thermal coal mines, oil sands or new Arctic energy exploration activities from 1 January 2022. The target date for phasing out the renewal of existing insurance cover for these types of businesses is 1 January 2030. The provision of clear, phased deadlines ahead of time supports customers and their employees in the transition to low-carbon business models.
"Our recent Insuring a sustainable, greener future report sets out the role the insurance industry will play in supporting and accelerating the transition to a low carbon economy. The report identifies the sectors which are critical in transitioning to a low carbon economy – energy, transport, and broader industry – and outlines the practical ways in which the insurance industry can accelerate the transition to net zero through its climate action roadmap."