Friday, 20 November 2015

Attending the B20/G20 Summit in Antalya, Turkey last weekend was a fantastic experience in more ways than one. I was there with a delegation of cooperative and mutual leaders following our work with the B20 Taskforce for Financing Growth which we have been involved with since 2014. This was the first time that B20 taskforce members were to come together at the same time as the G20 leaders would also be meeting so we were excited to see who would be attending. Representing the mutual and cooperative sector were: Monique F. Leroux, newly elected President of the International Co-operative Alliance (ICA); Chuck Gould, Secretary General of...

Friday, 06 November 2015

Only a few years ago, mutual insurers could understandably have viewed the influx of non-traditional capital trickling into the reinsurance market as irrelevant.

Mutual insurers rightly pride themselves on the unrivalled service they provide to their members, offering products tailored to meet their specific needs and developing intimate and long-term relationships with their constituency.

This would have seemed very much at odds with the approach of the new capital, which was focused on only a limited amount of “tail” property catastrophe exposures, offering coverage that was largely parametric or index-based (and hence a...

Thursday, 02 July 2015

Time for “climate change sceptics” is running out. Just like the ice caps, uncertainty about the business case for building an insurance industry that meets environmental demands, is melting fast.

Within just a few days early in June, the political world indicated its commitment to move the fossil fuel debate from the sidelines to centre stage: first, the Norwegian parliament announced huge divestments from coal companies; then the G7 pledged to phase out fossil fuels by the end of the century. It’s not just the politicians: even science and religion are united on this topic. In a vociferous statement published 18 June, Pope...

Friday, 22 May 2015

I was in Paris, France, on Wednesday (20 May) for the working breakfast on Innovative Finance for Climate Resilience, organized with the support of the Dutch Ministry of Infrastructure and the Environment, and in partnership with the International Chamber of Commerce (ICC).

It is no secret that the world is now at a critical juncture in terms of how quickly and effectively it responds to its increasingly mounting risks. The meeting was extremely well attended by climate experts, analysts and the financial services sector all agreeing that there is no shortage of awareness regarding the issue of climate risk, but there is a real...

Friday, 10 April 2015

Nineteen thousand people killed or lost, 1.3 million buildings destroyed or damaged, thousands of roads, bridges and railways[1] affected, and a total cost of 16.9 trillion yen[2]: these were was the social, structural and economic costs of the Great East Japan Earthquake of 2011. Its effects, like the tsunami that struck after the earthquake, rippled out from the prefecture of Miyagi to those of Iwate, Fukushima and beyond.

In contrast, the consequences for me here in the UK were, relatively speaking, insignificant. At a personal level, immediate concern for my friends and fellow cooperators in Japan. Professionally, joining my...

Wednesday, 11 March 2015

Several thousand participants, from UN Member States to global corporations and science leaders, will head to Sendai, Japan for the third world conference on Disaster Risk Reduction. But what role does the private sector and the insurance industry have to play?

After key meetings and consultations throughout 2014, the new global agreement on reducing disaster risk to succeed the current Hyogo Framework for Action is set to expand and deepen the role of the private sector and the insurance industry in ensuring the resilience of populations and assets to natural disasters. In particular, this year’s conference has dedicated sessions...

Friday, 13 February 2015

There are two ways of measuring success that I believe cooperative and mutual enterprises (CMEs) need to be paying attention to, and they’re quite different.

Firstly, success as a business. This is comparatively easy to measure as many of the standard business metrics, particularly in insurance, are also relevant to CMEs and can be applied with ease.

Secondly, success as a mutual or a cooperative. This is not so easy and the task of establishing the metrics for measuring this is very much a work in progress. Having developed the World Cooperative Monitor around business metrics, the International Cooperative Alliance is now...

Monday, 26 January 2015

Research released towards the end of last year by Benenden Health shows that almost half of people do not consider themselves to be community spirited and only 37 per cent understand what a mutual organization is.

Consumer society and a desire for material goods have driven society to become more selfish over the past 20 years according to new research. Additionally, the British public places the government at the top of the list in holding primary responsibility for taking care of others, this being placed above their own friends and family.

21 per cent of a sample of the British public who were surveyed stated that taking...

Monday, 01 December 2014

The 23 September 2014 will be permanently etched in my memory and hopefully the history of ICMIF.  On a personal level it was a once-in-a-lifetime experience, a “bucket list” moment, speaking at the United Nations (UN) Climate Change Conference in New York with the world’s civil and political influencers present.  On an ICMIF level it marked the acceptance of our business model as significantly relevant among the world’s elite.

The number of members, friends and business contacts who either heard my speech or knew about it was truly remarkable. The congratulatory messages and comments point to the fact that this has changed people’...

Tuesday, 02 September 2014

It’s easy to speculate that the rating agencies might not give a mutual (or cooperative) insurer the credit they deserve in the rating process; that an agency may appear more familiar or comfortable with listed shareholder (stock) companies and that a shareholder company capital structure and profit mentality will drive better ratings.  Is that really the case?

Deeper understanding of rating agency methodology suggests that the ratings outcome should not be inherently negatively influenced by a mutual structure.  Indeed among the world’s highest rated private sector insurers are the giant mutuals State Farm from the US and Japan’s...