Conduit Re executive chairman Neil Eckert believes the Russia-Ukraine crisis will ultimately accelerate the transition towards renewables as governments increasingly focus on energy security. 

Neil Eckert – Conduit

In an interview with The Insurer TV, Eckert said the insurance industry remained focused on playing its role in the energy transition. 

He said any moves to recommission fossil fuel assets to increase energy capacity would likely be a “short-term reaction” to reduce dependence on Russian oil and gas. 

“The emphasis now is on energy security, and the way you achieve that is by making your own power.

“In the medium to long term, this could reinvigorate the need to continue to develop renewables, and I know the industry wants to be front and centre of this transition.”

He said the industry had made progress in its own drive towards a more sustainable future, particularly through projects such as the Prince of Wales’ Sustainable Markets Initiative Insurance Task Force.

“It would be wrong to say we are completely ready, but the drive and the momentum has never been stronger,” he said. 

Increasing engagement

Eckert has previously been vocal in calling for the insurance sector to step up its engagement around product design to meet the needs of companies as society transitions towards net zero. 

In an interview with this publication last year, he called on the industry to innovate and adjust its product suite to provide solutions in areas where they are most needed, such as for early-stage technology in the sustainable energy space.

“We have to provide products that respond to the changing world,” he said. “Companies looking to develop renewable energy projects really need insurance products that protect their revenue streams.”

Sharpening the focus

Eckert is one of several senior industry figures who has voiced confidence that the Russia-Ukraine conflict will not derail progress towards the transition to a more sustainable future. 

Amanda Blanc, CEO of Aviva, told last month’s Business of Resilience conference that ESG was “more important now than it has ever been”.

And Amy Barnes, Marsh’s global head of sustainability and climate change strategy, told a media briefing earlier this month that she did not anticipate any shift away from long-term decarbonisation goals even if there is a reliance on fossil fuels to meet short-term energy security needs. 

“When asked whether sustainability is still important in the context of the conflict, I would say it is even more important,” she said. 

“If anything it has sharpened the focus, particularly in Continental Europe, around moving away from fossil fuels.”

Watch the full Leading Voices episode with Conduit Re’s Neil Eckert and Trevor Carvey below: