Insurance companies are engaged in a huge amount of initiatives that are “life changing for millions of people” but not being recognised for this work, according to Dickie Whitaker, CEO of Oasis Loss Modelling Framework.
While much of the public scrutiny of the sector’s contribution to the climate agenda has focused on its commitments around fossil fuel underwriting and investments, Whitaker said there were several actions being taken by the industry that were not widely publicised but were making significant contributions towards societal resilience against climate risk.
“If you look at the work the Insurance Development Forum is doing, which includes efforts of the UN, World Bank and others alongside the insurance industry, this is working to provide insurance for 500 million people in developing countries impacted by climate change by 2025,” he said.
Whitaker said the IDF was heavily involved in some huge initiatives that are life changing for millions of people.
“Many companies are leading in this area including the likes of Aon, Guy Carpenter, Willis, Lloyd’s, Scor, RenaissanceRe, Allianz, Axa and Chubb,” he said.
“The work some of these companies are doing is not very visible to the outside world, but they do a huge amount that is not being recognised.”
He continued: “This is a critical part of the Insurance industry’s commitment to saving lives and building resilience and forms an important part of its objectives around climate risks.”
Whitaker was speaking following the publication of the latest Insure Our Future scorecard on industry progress on the climate agenda, which criticised several companies and the Lloyd’s market for progress in reducing fossil fuel investment and underwriting as well as “Other Climate Leadership”.
However, Whitaker said those compiling the report “don’t understand enough about the insurance industry”.
“The most important thing the industry can do is create resilience for a large number of people around the world,” he said.
When compared with its efforts to provide 500 million people by 2025, Whitaker said the issue around whether some power stations were still receiving coverage was “trivial”.
“There is also a good argument that the insurance industry is a fantastic lever for encouraging adaptation for commercial companies globally which will be lost if certain segments are precluded from receiving cover,” he said.
“And If we don’t consider these fossil fuels to now be acceptable to society, it should be a policy-driven objective supported by the insurance industry.
“We have a massive opportunity to use the insurance industry as a gearing mechanism, helping people to understand what will happen so they can plan, mitigate and adapt,” Whitaker continued.
He defended the efforts of Lloyd’s, which received notable criticism in the most recent Insure Our Future report.
“Lloyd’s put over $1mn into Oasis very early on, and the past three CEOs of Lloyd’s have been very supportive in what we are doing. But the people who create this scoring system don’t even know about that. If you are going to put out stuff like that, you need to do a better job.”
“We all need to work together with as much relevant information as we can all share, even on complex areas like risk modelling and understanding,” Whitaker said.