Canadian Underwriter

United Nations to Insurance Industry: Lead us on climate change

April 14, 2016   by Jeff Pearce

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climatechange2_sizedThe UN’s Ban Ki-moon says the insurance industry has a leadership role to help fight climate change. The Secretary General says it’s a key actor in forging new instruments to anticipate and manage climate risks.

“The world needs your leadership to meet the climate challenge,” Ban told a high-level meeting on resilience with insurance industry leaders at UN Headquarters in New York this morning.

Emphasizing that the “impacts of climate change will affect every aspect of our lives,” Ban noted the industry played a key role at the climate summit he hosted in 2014 andwas instrumental in mobilizing momentum for the Paris Agreement last December.

Climate change “profoundly affects” the core business of the insurance industry because the industry will be faced with “mounting claims of a magnitude not yet seen” and also because the industry’s investment decisions can give rise to unexpected risks.

“Conversely, if you invest wisely, you could reap new rewards – for both your own businesses and society at large,” the UN chief said.

Among the actions that the insurance industry should take, according to Ban, include greening its investment portfolios and by 2020, measuring its carbon footprint. In addition, the industry should also decarbonize its investments so as not to contribute to rising greenhouse emissions, the Secretary-General said.

“It is not enough to simply create new products to respond to climate catastrophes,” he stressed. “At some $25 trillion dollars, you own some of the world’s largest investment portfolios. Your investment decisions are crucial for reducing the growth of carbon emissions and protecting again the financial disruption caused by stranded assets.”

This story was originally published by Canadian Insurance Top Broker.