Sustainable insurance in a time of planetary crisis

Let me start by congratulating you on the ten years of the Rules of Sustainable Insurance coverage Initiative, or PSI. This, the biggest collaboration between the United Nations and the insurance coverage trade, is essential.

The insurance coverage trade acts as an early warning system for society and a danger supervisor by understanding, minimizing, pricing and bearing dangers. The insurance coverage trade and the broader monetary sector have the flexibility and accountability to drive progress in direction of a zero-economy and a sustainable future.

Over the previous 10 years, we’ve seen actual progress within the trade. By means of PSI, we now have the perfect frameworks and tips designed to embed sustainability on the coronary heart of the insurance coverage enterprise and obtain real-world influence. Recognizing the important thing position of insurance coverage regulators and supervisors, PSI additionally helped create the Sustainable Insurance coverage Discussion board in 2016. There isn’t a excuse for any insurance coverage firm to not have a sustainability technique for its core enterprise.

Just lately, an preliminary group of main insurers have embedded net-zero ambitions both of their core insurance coverage enterprise or of their investments — or each. Some main insurers have made guarantees and commitments that, if stored, might make an actual distinction. At this time, PSI has greater than 220 organizations, together with insurance coverage firms that account for a 3rd of the worldwide premium and $15 trillion in belongings underneath administration. We now have a worldwide group of practitioners who can lead systemic change.

For all this, and a lot extra, thanks.

However now I’ll inform you what I mentioned to my group and Member States on the UNEP @ 50 celebration in March. I’ll inform you what I informed world leaders at Stockholm +50 in June. I am going to inform you what I’d say to anybody who’s a milestone in environmental work: You have not accomplished sufficient. None of us have it.

This isn’t my opinion. It is a assertion of the reality. A press release of reality confirmed by what science tells us concerning the acceleration of the triple planetary disaster of local weather change, lack of nature and biodiversity, air pollution and waste.

The Intergovernmental Panel on Local weather Change tells us that international warming is inflicting severe disruption to the pure world, human well-being and financial prosperity. Deaths and damages from floods, droughts and storms are growing.

All of this comes at 1.1°C of worldwide warming. And there’s a 50/50 likelihood that we are going to attain 1.5°C, not less than quickly, within the subsequent 5 years. The United Nations Workplace for Catastrophe Threat Discount not too long ago predicted that there will probably be one large-scale catastrophe day-after-day by 2030. It’s clear that the dangers posed by international warming are escalating. Nevertheless, efforts to scale back greenhouse fuel emissions are nonetheless a great distance off.

Is that this sustainable?

The Intergovernmental Platform on Biodiversity and Ecosystem Providers tells us that nature is in fast decline, eroding the foundations of human well being and prosperity. As much as 40 p.c of the land is degraded. This decline impacts practically half of the world’s inhabitants and makes it tougher to feed everybody. A million species are going through extinction. Major tropical forests had been destroyed in 2021 at a charge of ten soccer fields each minute.

Is that this sustainable?

Air pollution and waste kill tens of tens of millions of individuals yearly. One in six deaths is attributable to air pollution – from polluted air to poisonous chemical compounds. Regardless of the rising momentum on plastic air pollution, 11 million tons of plastic waste nonetheless fall into our oceans yearly. Antimicrobial resistance is on the rise.

Is that this sustainable?

These three crises add as much as one planetary emergency, pushed by the unsustainable approach we produce items and devour assets. A disaster that, if left unchecked, will destroy our well being, communities, companies and economies.

Is that this sustainable?

The reply is not any.

The anxious younger folks, the individuals who will probably be your prospects for many years to return, are uninterested in our guarantees. Susceptible societies much less chargeable for the harm accomplished to our planet are uninterested in our guarantees. Truthfully, I believe we’re uninterested in our guarantees.

It is work time. It is time to finish our habit to fossil fuels. Carry nature again to its full glory. Make manufacturing and consumption sustainable. Reworking our meals programs. Make our cities inexperienced, livable, low-carbon and disaster-resistant. and retooling the worldwide monetary system, together with the insurance coverage trade, to assist a wholesome and wholesome planet.


You can not do all this alone. However what you are able to do is implement bold actions in danger administration, insurance coverage and funding actions to assist obtain the 2030 purpose of halving greenhouse fuel emissions. 2030 goal to reverse the lack of nature. 2030 purpose to attain the sustainable improvement objectives.

So, yeah, we’re right here immediately to have fun what you’ve got accomplished – and accomplished rather a lot. However we’re additionally right here to indicate you easy methods to construct in your accomplishments to get the job accomplished. To that finish, I’ve come right here with six predominant requests.

First, the online dedication to zero

Insurers should develop and implement science-based internet zero methods and targets for his or her insurance coverage and funding portfolios by becoming a member of the Web-Zero Insurance coverage Alliance (NZIA) and the Web-Zero Asset Proprietor Alliance.

NZIA’s work with the Partnership for Carbon Monetary Accounts to supply the primary international benchmark for measuring greenhouse fuel emissions related to insurance coverage underwriting portfolios by November 2022 is an efficient start line.

NZIA’s work with the Science-Primarily based Targets Initiative to develop the NZIA Concentrating on Protocol by January 2023 is one other essential step. This protocol will probably be utilized by NZIA member insurers to set interim, science-based five-year targets for his or her respective insurance coverage portfolios, beginning in July 2023.

Second, a dedication to optimistic transmission in direction of nature and air pollution prevention

Insurers ought to construct on the work of setting the PSI agenda to guard pure World Heritage websites, deal with plastic air pollution, and fight unlawful, unreported and unregulated fishing.

Insurance coverage firms should adhere to methods and targets primarily based on the optimistic nature within the area of insurance coverage and investments. PSI ought to create a Nature Constructive Insurance coverage Alliance — identical to the Web-Zero Insurance coverage Alliance it created in 2021 — notably given the anticipated adoption of the post-2020 international biodiversity framework later this yr.

Insurers should additionally assist the objectives of the legally binding worldwide settlement to finish plastic air pollution, which will probably be in place by 2024.

Third, dedication to resilience and adaptation to local weather change

Defending probably the most susceptible and leaving nobody behind is indispensable within the honest transition to internet zero. Addressing loss and harm and constructing resilience shouldn’t be the forgotten element of local weather motion. Lowering catastrophe danger and shutting the insurance coverage safety hole is vital.

Insurers should decide to supporting the Sustainable Insurance coverage Facility for the Group of Twenty Finance Ministers at Threat, which is hosted by PSI. This facility goals to supply insurance coverage safety to micro, small and medium enterprises in probably the most climate-vulnerable international locations in Africa, the Center East, Asia and the Pacific, and Latin America and the Caribbean.

Fourth, life and medical insurance firms should decide to sustainability.

Well being is our biggest wealth. Life and medical insurance firms should embody sustainability of their core insurance coverage enterprise, not simply of their investments, particularly in a post-COVID world more and more affected by local weather change, lack of nature, air pollution and social inequality.

Insurers ought to undertake the suggestions within the first-ever sustainability information for the worldwide life and medical insurance trade, which PSI will launch this yr.The tenth Anniversary occasion.

Fifth, a dedication to accountability, transparency and sustainable experience.

Your complete worth chain of the insurance coverage trade for insurers, reinsurers, brokers and brokers—together with insurance coverage associations and insurance coverage regulators—should make sustainability an integral a part of their resolution making.

Insurers should implement the suggestions of the Activity Power on Local weather-Associated Monetary Disclosures, the Activity Power on Nature Monetary Disclosures, and the Worldwide Sustainability Requirements Council – all of that are essential steps to drive systemic change.

Furthermore, all insurance coverage professionals ought to develop experience within the space of ​​sustainability, quite than leaving it to a couple folks throughout the group. Sustainability needs to be an integral a part of an insurance coverage group’s tradition, ideas, values, methods and core operations. Briefly, it ought to type a part of each insurance coverage resolution.

Sixth, create sustainable insurance coverage roadmaps

Insurance coverage markets all over the world ought to comply with the California Insurance coverage Commissioner to develop the world’s first sustainable insurance coverage roadmap, an initiative supported by PSI. The California Sustainable Insurance coverage Roadmap will probably be offered at this PSI occasion.

The Sustainable Insurance coverage Roadmap is a complete technique and motion plan to harness the insurance coverage trade’s danger administration companies, insurance coverage options and investments to speed up the transition to resilient, inclusive, optimistic and pure societies and economies. These roadmaps will function foundational frameworks for insurance coverage markets to assist the worldwide agenda of the United Nations Decade for Motion.


I do not wish to belittle your achievements or view the insurance coverage trade and the broader monetary sector as backward. As soon as once more, thanks for every thing you’ve got accomplished over the previous ten years. However like I mentioned, neither of us has accomplished sufficient.

See, folks on the whole should not superb at trying ahead. Most of us make short-term choices primarily based on the passage of days, weeks, or months forward. However you’re within the insurance coverage trade not like most individuals. Your job is to look to the long run, to grasp, cut back, value and assume the dangers. Threat administration is your core enterprise.

I’m now asking you to look into the long run and inform your self what you see – what the long run seems to be like for the planet, your online business fashions, and everybody you care about will dwell past the following few years.

Then ask your self what you will do about it.