The London insurance connection propping up the murderous Burmese military dictatorship can be revealed in a development that will acutely embarrass leading City figures.

Three Lloyd\’s of London operators will be named as helping to insure the junta\’s state-owned airline Myanma Airways earlier this year. They are Kiln, Atrium and Catlin. All were contacted by The Observer and asked to explain their involvement but refused to comment.

Other Lloyd\’s syndicates have shared the risk of insuring the junta\’s shipping interests. Without shipping and aviation insurance, the Burmese government would not be able to export gems, timber, clothing, oil and gas, which would lead to economic ruin for the generals running the oppressed south-east Asian nation.

The London insurance involvement, to be exposed this week in a report by Burma Campaign UK, will acutely damage the reputation of the City. It is likely to trigger a wave of campaigns aiming to force Lloyd\’s of London to recommend that its members pull business from Burma. Campaigners are demanding a face-to-face meeting with Lloyd\’s chairman Lord Levene.

Not sure I understand the campaigners point here.

Yes, I know, most see insurance as being to protect the money of the owners of the asset being insured. But that\’s not really what it\’s about. It\’s about protecting the interests of third parties who might be affected by the operation of those assets.

You\’re not told that you must insure the value of your car: you are forced to insure yourself against any damage your operation of the car might cause to third parties.

If Lloyd\’s were to refuse to insure Burma\’s shipping, for example, all that would happen is that Burma would self-insure: leaving anyone damaged by their actions to try and get their compensation from that State and good luck with that.


Last night, Lloyd\’s said: \’Unless there are official international sanctions in place, we do not instruct the market where it can and cannot write business.\’

Damn right too.

Yes, it\’s a bloody dictatorship which we\’d all like to see the back of. But limiting our freedom ain\’t the way to deal with it.

4 thoughts on “Eh?”

  1. Surely without international insurance Myanma Airways would be denied landing and overfly rights thus effectively grounding the airline. I’m not sure even the Chinese would accept Burmese insurance.

  2. Just one question- has the observer “named and shamed” the customers buying all this Burmese produce ?

  3. Furthermore the crude method of stopping Burma’s ability to trade will result in far more suffering for the people than for the generals.

    (Just one thing, Lloyds don’t insure 3rd party. Thats P&I clubs outside lloyds.)

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