Broker running off contracted risks in military regime

Willis will cease all business activities in Burma following recent human rights abuses and calls for the UN to issue sanctions against the military regime.

In a statement, the broker said: “Willis is in the process of running off its contractual position within Burma and we are diligently working to complete our activities by April 30, 2008.

“The group does not have any employees or operations in Burma. We currently provide reinsurance renewal placement services principally on marine hull and cargo business for an insurance client in Burma.

“The services are a continuation of a long standing reinsurance account. Willis’ remuneration from these activities is insignificant.”

Johnny Chatterton, campaigns officer at human rights organisation The Burma Campaign, which publishes a ‘dirty list’ every year of companies whose business inadvertently or directly prop up the country’s repressive regime, applauded Willis’ decision.

He said: “We are delighted that Willis has taken the principled decision to stop doing business in Burma. Today we call on all insurance companies to stop supporting the Burmese generals by covering the foreign companies that are the regime’s financial lifeline.”

Willis’ decision follows a pledge late last year by Prime Minister Gordon Brown to ban UK investment in Burma if change did not occur. Brown also called on the UN Security Council to take action. The trade ban would not impact existing business deals within the country.

As first reported in Insurance Times, The Burma Campaign has recently unveiled an investigations panel made up of insurance insiders and academics to expose UK insurers doing business in Burma.