Mutual and cooperative insurers share climate change solutions at COP21

4 December 2015


At the COP21 Conference LPAA: Private Finance Climate Action Session the mutual and cooperative insurance sector has, by invitation, showcased how it is delivering long-term, sustainable interventions to help tackle the most globally significant risks to lives and livelihoods

At the COP21 Conference, the International Cooperative and Mutual Insurance Federation (ICMIF) today participated in the Lima-Paris Action (LPAA); Private Finance Action Session.

ICMIF CEO, Shaun Tarbuck, participated in a panel session, moderated by Janos Pasztor, UN Assistant Secretary-General for Climate Change, in which representatives from the private finance sector, including investment, banking and insurance, showcased how their industries are undertaking a green shift toward a low carbon economy. The panel included:

  • Martin Skancke, Chair, Advisory Council of the Principles for Responsible investment
  • Michel Sapin, the French Finance Minister
  • Karien van Gennip, member of UNEP FI banking group, CEO ING Bank France
  • Erik Jan van Bergen, Green Bond Principles executive committee, Actiam’s CIO

Tarbuck spoke on behalf of the global insurance sector, but also took the opportunity to share how the cooperative and mutual insurance sector is playing a leading role in doubling the industry’s investment in Smart-Risk investing.

The mutual and cooperative insurance sector is driving an unprecedented cultural change in its investment teams in a bid to transfer the knowledge that the underwriting side of the industry has in relation to risk and modelling to the investible asset side of the business – thereby delivering a long-term culture of ‘smarter’ investment decisions. At the UN Climate Change Summit in September 2014, the insurance sector, represented by ICMIF and the International Insurance Society (IIS) set a target to double their $42 billion investments in green finance by the end of 2015. In his speech today Tarbuck confirmed that the major actors of the sector have already exceeded the initial target by collectively investing $109 billion.

Tarbuck also explained how ICMIF’s 5-5-5 Mutual Microinsurance Strategy aims to protect 25 million more poor people, in the world’s poorest areas by 2020. That equates to 25% of the G7’s business sector commitment to increase climate insurance cover for an additional 400 million poor and vulnerable people in highly exposed and low income countries within the next five years.

Tarbuck showed how these two initiatives fitted within Ban Ki-moon’s new Climate Resilience Initiative — Anticipate, Absorb, Reshape (A2R) – launched on Monday 1 December. He highlighted several initiatives that the coalition of industry associations ICMIF, the International Insurance Society (IIS) and the Willis Group have been working on in the last 15 months. Anticipate is about understanding the risks associated with climate change and modelling their potential impact and the Resilience Modelling Forum initiative speaks to that. Absorb includes extending the market penetration of insurance with initiatives such as 5-5-5 and the African Risk Capacity. Lastly, Reshape is looking for solutions to the big issues around funding and transparency and accounting for climate change. The smart risk investing initiative is a resolution initiative as is the Financial Stability Board’s industry-led agenda to consider climate risk disclosure across the wider economy.

“Mutual insurers have continued as the fastest-growing part of the global insurance industry since the financial crisis,” said ICMIF’s Shaun Tarbuck. “Since 2007, our sector has grown its premium income by an impressive 31%, considerably above the market growth of 13%. Our business model thrives by adopting a long-term, sustainable approach to business and it is therefore of little surprise to see mutual and cooperative insurance leaders now playing such a visible and vital social and economic role in the world.”

Please download Shaun Tarbuck’s speech here.

For member-only strategic content on the cooperative/mutual insurance sector, ICMIF members have exclusive access to a range of online resources through the ICMIF Knowledge Hub.

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