Further additions to the Net Zero Insurance Alliance are set to be unveiled in the near future with “active dialogue” ongoing with several potential new members, Axa group chief risk officer Renaud Guidée has revealed.

Net zero

Addressing a Swiss Re hosted virtual discussion to mark the start of the COP26 talks, Guidée said insurers had an important role to play in helping clients decarbonise their portfolios, in addition to its role as an investor. 

The NZIA is set for a formal launch in Glasgow this week, with Axa serving as chair of the initiative. While the group’s first eight members were all based in Europe, the alliance has since added American Hellenic Hull, Icea Lion Group (its first African member), NN Group and Shinhan Life (the first Asian member).  

Lloyd’s became the alliance’s latest member shortly before COP26 talks began. 

Butch Bacani, who leads the UN Environment’s Principles for Sustainable Insurance Initiative (PSI), said membership of the NZIA “should not be the exception - it should be the norm”.  

“The whole agenda of COP26 is to make sure every financial decision takes into account climate change,” he said. 

Bacani said the NZIA and PSI had “changed the way we think about what insurance is about. 

“Before the classic notion of insurance was that if you are insured, you are protected. Now it is questioned what you are insuring, and whether this is damaging for people and the environment.” 

Line Hestvik, chief sustainability officer at Allianz, said it was critical that the financial services sector, including insurers, were there to help finance the decarbonisation transition.

“The plan is we are going to be a partner for our clients on the journey to net zero and insuring what they need to do to get there,” she said.