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Working Paper Leading the Green Insurance Revolution

Management Summary

Anthropogenic climate change is a significant and growing challenge. Insurance has thus far not taken a leadership role in its response to the challenge, partly because of modeling uncertainties and partly because of unclear customer expectations. It is, however, too large a sector to wait on the sidelines and a more proactive approach is required. The demand for a program we developed for insurance companies in 2021 sends a positive signal for this development.

Insurers have started incorporating ESG criteria in their product and service development and have taken steps to control their environmental footprint. Both are challenging, as they involved deep collaboration across the organization and along the value chain. Investment management and risk management have also been evolving to meet the challenge, with the latter especially well-positioned to deliver also market-facing services to insurance customers. Claims handling, however, is not typically considered in an insurer’s footprint and has lagged behind. This is unfortunate, as the potential for a broader societal impact through claims is significant.

There are several best practices for transforming organizations to deliver more value along corporate responsibility criteria, and insurance companies need to make treasure of this experience. Further, they need to start developing their purpose beyond purely financial dimensions to align important stakeholders and deliver the promise of insurance as a social good in the 21st Century.

Main Contact

Dr. Carlo Pugnetti, ZHAW School of Management and Law