Insurance 2030: Policies and partnerships for sustainable development
A Roundtable co-hosted by UNEP and Swiss Re
11-12 May 2015
Picture: Michael Wissing, Swiss Re
The insurance industry—as risk managers, risk carriers and investors—has a pivotal role to play in promoting economic, social and environmental sustainability. The momentum of initiatives harnessing insurance for sustainable development has been growing over the years, and 2015 offers an unprecedented opportunity to think ahead about the priorities for scaling up action and impact. UN global milestones on disaster risk reduction, finance for development, new sustainable development goals, and a universal climate change agreement provide the context for strategic reflection on the policies and partnerships necessary to realise the full potential of insurance. Initiatives by the G20 on financial stability, long-term finance and climate-related issues, and by the G7 on climate risk insurance, create further opportunities to bring these agendas together.
On 11-12 May 2015, the United Nations Environment Programme (UNEP) and Swiss Re, bringing together the UNEP FI Principles for Sustainable Insurance (PSI) and the UNEP Inquiry into the Design of Sustainable Financial System (UNEP Inquiry), co-hosted a Roundtable on “Insurance 2030: Policies and partnerships for sustainable development” at the Swiss Re Centre for Global Dialogue. Around 60 leaders and executives from insurance companies and regulatory bodies, the UN, governments, think tanks and civil society discussed industry priorities, challenges and pathways. The Roundtable drew on existing industry initiatives on sustainability issues such as access to insurance, disaster resilience, and climate change adaptation and mitigation. It also marked the culmination of the global consultation led by the PSI and UNEP Inquiry over the past year on insurance policy and regulatory frameworks.
Opening the Roundtable, UNEP Executive Director Achim Steiner highlighted the strategic opportunity for convergence between industry initiatives and policy frameworks at the national and international levels. Participants debated interlocking issues such as natural disasters, access to insurance, climate change and the low-carbon transition, socio-economic disruptions and long-term investment. Industry commitments were deemed important to exercise leadership, catalyse action and deliver solutions. However, enabling insurance policy and regulatory frameworks are vital to bring these commitments to scale, while multi-stakeholder partnerships are key to driving greater impact. In the closing session, UN Framework Convention on Climate Change (UNFCCC) Executive Secretary Christiana Figueres initiated discussions for the insurance industry to look into the implications of climate change scenarios on system-wide insurability.
The Roundtable underscored that the industry is facing sustainable development challenges and opportunities that require systemic responses, an integrated approach and collaborative efforts. Proposals and themes that were put forward include deepening sustainability risk management frameworks across insurance lines and asset classes, strengthening policy leadership on sustainable development issues, scaling up industry action through enhanced networks, placing sustainability within insurance education and training, and focusing long-term efforts.
With key insights from the Roundtable, the PSI and UNEP Inquiry then published the landmark report, “Insurance 2030: Harnessing insurance for sustainable development”. The report presents a suite of options that could strengthen the alignment between the insurance industry and sustainable development through to 2030—the horizon for the UN Sustainable Development Goals—including pathways for action, scale and impact. Some of the key recommendations include the creation of an Insurance Network on Sustainable Development, a Sustainable Insurance Policy Forum, and a set of Insurance Development Goals.
The Insurance 2030 report was launched by PSI Programme Leader Butch Bacani on 17 June 2015 at the UN headquarters in New York—the final day of the Global Insurance Forum of the International Insurance Society. The day was highlighted by the opening address delivered by UN Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon.
Read the Insurance 2030 report.
UN press release
Read the press release.
See the programme.
View photos from the Roundtable.
The Roundtable was held at the Swiss Re Centre for Global Dialogue. The Centre is the premier conference facility of Swiss Re, dedicated to exploring global insurance and risk issues. It is a state-of-the-art conference centre, offering top-level conference, hotel and dining facilities.
Overlooking the scenic Lake Zurich, the Centre is located in the outskirts of Zurich, one of the world’s leading financial centres and home to Swiss Re’s global headquarters.
For enquiries about the Roundtable, please contact:
Programme Manager, UNEP FI Principles for Sustainable Insurance Initiative
T: +41 22 917 8129