30 June 2020

The insurance industry's climate change leaders

Christopher Cundy introduces InsuranceERM's list of the people leading and shaping the insurance sector's response to climate change

Earlier this year, risk experts at the World Economic Forum identified the failure to address climate change as the most impactful – and sadly, the second-most likely – risk we face.

It's a risk the insurance industry must play its part in tackling. The sector itself may not emit a significant quantity of greenhouse gases. But it holds a unique position of power in the economy, as a major institutional investor and as the facilitator of economic activity through its underwriting.

The flipside of that leverage is insurers are heavily exposed to climate risks on both sides of the balance sheet.

Understanding and managing climate risk should therefore be a prime concern for insurers. For the companies represented in this list, and many others, that is the case. But there are still too many insurers whose efforts in addressing climate change are lagging far behind the necessary and urgent actions.

Firms in the latter category would do well to heed the words of the people in InsuranceERM's Most Influential on Climate Change list, not least because they are setting the benchmarks for climate action and are helping shape future climate regulations.

The list comprises several types of actor: among them the global conveners and influencers, whose role is to bring insurers together with governments and other stakeholders (because insurers cannot tackle climate change alone) and reorient the financial sector for a sustainable future.

There are technical specialists in the areas of asset management, climate modelling, scenario analysis and other techniques necessary to assess and manage climate risk. There are also supervisors, who are playing an ever-increasing role in managing climate risk.

It has been a pleasure to compile the list, but also a challenge, as we have had to exclude some very worthwhile candidates in this first year for reasons of time and space. However, we will review and expand the list next year. If you think someone deserves a spot, email us at [email protected]

The past few months have taught us a lot about responding to a global threat with devastating consequences. Covid-19 has revealed the importance of listening to scientists, taking early action and having a robust plan for dealing with the repercussions. We hope this list will play a small part in catalysing a positive response to climate change.

See the whole gallery or click directly the links below:

Butch Bacani
Peter Bosshard
Mark Carney
Ben Carr
Bronwyn Claire
Thierry Corti
Rowan Douglas
Maryam Golnaraghi
Dave Jones
Johanna Köb
Mike Kreidler
Roelfien Kuijpers
Michèle Lacroix
Masaaki Nagamura
Louise Pryor
Emma Raven
Mikko Sinersalo
John Scott
Geoff Summerhayes
Jakob Thomä
Sylvain Vanston
Steve Waygood