Climate change poses a double threat to the insurance industry. It faces mounting costs from claims relating to the physical impacts of climate change and knock-on events such as the disruption of global supply chains. At the same time, the investment portfolios that enable it to meet claims are themselves exposed to climate risks in the transition to the low-carbon economy.
AODP’s annual Global Climate 500 Index rates the world’s 500 largest asset owners on their success at managing climate risk in their portfolios, grading them from AAA to D, while “laggards” taking no action are rated X. It reveals that as a group the world’s biggest insurers are ignoring warnings on climate risk and lagging behind pension funds on the three key capabilities required to protect their portfolios: risk management, engagement and low-carbon investment.
Insurers manage a third of the world’s investment capital, so their actions can have a profound impact on the global economy. As long as few insurers take action on climate risk, there is a danger of a systemic failure which could have catastrophic effects on the wider economy. Conversely, by investing just a fraction of their portfolios in low carbon assets, insurers could play a key role in the transition to a low carbon economy and battle against climate change.
The report, Global Climate 500 Index 2016: Insurance Sector Analysis can be downloaded above.