Speaking to The Insurer TV during the Davos 2022 event organised by the World Economic Forum, Stander said while governments are working hard to tackle the effects of climate change, he would like to see them working faster.

“[Governments] are working very hard [towards net-zero]. Would I like to see them working faster? Of course I would. However, I’m pleased with the progress and, coming out of COP26 – yes, there were some things that were a little bit disappointing, but there were some other things that were very encouraging,” Stander said.

In addition, Stander said the (re)insurance industry was well represented at the event, which is testament to its increasing involvement in all matters related to climate.

“A number of the large insurers, reinsurers and brokers are at Davos and it’s important that they’re here and that they are at the top table with the rest of business, but also with governments and civil society. I think they’re increasingly plugged in,” he said. 

And the (re)insurance industry has made large strides in contributing to the fight against the effects of climate change by engaging in important initiatives that foster cross-collaboration, Stander added.

For instance, the industry is playing a “leading role” in the Principles for Sustainable Investment, along with the work it is doing for the Centre for Greening Finance and Investments around the Global Resilience Index, he noted.

Players in the (re)insurance industry have been ramping up their efforts around net-zero targets, with many firms creating or joining initiatives to accelerate the transition.

For instance, many insurers have pledged to stop insuring coal, oil and gas, and other carbon-intensive projects in an effort to improve their ESG credentials.

A group of 20 (re)insurance companies have also joined the Net-Zero Insurance Alliance, a UN-led initiative aiming to transition underwriting portfolios to net-zero greenhouse gas emissions by 2050. This group represents more than 11 percent of premium volume globally.

The role of technology

Central to all of these initiatives to tackle the effects of climate change is technology.

Rafal Modrzewski, CEO of data capture company ICEYE, said the role of satellite imaging data has become fundamental to the solutions that are necessary for climate risk mitigation.

But there are still challenges around climate modelling. For instance, Modrzewski said some existing models are no longer applicable to the present, given that climate change is having an effect on current weather events.

“If you take the data from the past there is no way for you to predict the future in which the climate is changing in the way that we are observing it right now. That poses a real question of how we are going to adapt both the models and the way we are answering [these challenges] so we can face the changing reality,” Modrzewski said.

For Modrzewski, feasible solutions to climate change must be achieved through adaptation. One of the most important tasks to be undertaken is the adoption of new technology that will help get closer to preventing future events.

Watch the full 18-minute video to hear Stander and Modrzewski from Davos on:

  • Their expectations for Davos 2022
  • Initiatives undertaken by the (re)insurance industry to tackle climate change
  • How the industry is responding to these challenges
  • The role of technology in accelerating the transition to net zero
  • The shortcomings of current climate models
  • The role of government in helping tackle climate change