On 21 June, the UNEP Principles for Sustainable Insurance Initiative (PSI) brought together the life & health insurance industry and supporting stakeholders for the event “Health is Our Greatest Wealth: Setting the Global Sustainability Agenda for the Life & Health Insurance Industry.” The half-day event hosted by Vitality, a PSI signatory company, at their London office focused on amplifying sustainability action and ambition for the life & health insurance industry in this UN Decade of Action. (Recording available here)

Opening Remarks:

Butch Bacani, Programme Lead, UNEP PSI, Mark Tucker, Group Chairman of HSBC Holdings, and Adrian Gore, Founder & CEO, Discovery set the tone for the event focusing on the need for continued collaboration in the life and insurance industry to drive a more inclusive insurance model globally.

Keynote Address:

Dr. Tedros Adhanom Ghebreyesus, Director General, WHO provided the keynote address on the key role that life and health insurers have in closing the protection gap. Dr. Tedros urged insurance companies to consider health alongside ESG risks and implement the plan outlined in the paper to contribute to a healthier and more equitable world.

“Health does not begin in a hospital or a clinic. It begins in our homes and communities, in the food we eat, the water we drink and the air we breathe”

Dr Tedros Adhanom Ghebreysus, Director-General of World Health Organization.

Launch of PSI Life & Health Paper:

The main focus of the event was the launch of “Health is Our Greatest Wealth: How Life & Health Insurers can Drive Better Health Outcomes and Address the Protection Gap”, a collaborative effort by the PSI’s Life & Health Working Group—comprised of 10 leading insurers and reinsurers from Africa, Asia, Europe, and North America—co-led by HSBC Life, Vitality, and the UN PSI, and supported by Ernst & Young LLP. (25 minute mark of the recording)

Teresa Fung, Head of Sustainability, Global Insurance at HSBC provided an overview of key findings from the paper as well as the paper’s “Four-Point Plan for Life & and Health Insurers”—a set of four strategies and 15 underlying approaches, illustrated by case studies, that insurers can follow to address the protection gap and drive better health outcomes.

The four-point plan for life & health insurers promotes:

  • Offering suitable, affordable, and accessible insurance products
  • Engaging with policyholders and other stakeholders to promote preventative healthcare.
  • Leveraging technology and ethical use of data to expand access to insurance and support prevention measures.
  • Collaborating with healthcare providers, policymakers, and local communities. 

The presentation was followed by a panel discussion with members of the working group on how the findings from the paper can be applied by life and health insurers globally through embedding better health into transition plans and finding new ways for reaching vulnerable communities by embracing technology and building inclusiveness.

CEO Panel Discussion:

The event also featured a CEO panel discussion, bringing together leading companies’ CEOs and other senior representatives from the insurance industry. This engaging panel provided the opportunity to discuss key sustainability challenges and opportunities for life & health insurers. The panel reinforced the paper’s call for collaboration, discussing the need for insurance companies to lead by example. Panellists encouraged life & health insurers around the world to implement preventative healthcare measures and designs products and solutions to reach the most vulnerable. A key part of the conversation focused on overcoming a variety of challenges including engagement with staff and barriers to access mental healthcare. The discussion also touched on the need for regulators to play a role by bridging health and insurance regulation to ensure customers receive the right care.

Closing Remarks:

In her closing remarks, Diana Diaz, PSI Programme Supervisor called on the life and health industry to turn the insights of the paper into action, highlighted the power life and health insurers have to transform lives, shape better behaviors, and contribute to a more sustainable future.

Click here to view the full recording of the event.