Re/insurers must overhaul business models as research reveals just 8% of insurers are resilience champions

Capgemini and Efma’s World Property and Casualty Insurance Report reveals that climate change is hurting the insurance industry in terms of both reputation and cost. 

  • Globally, economic losses driven by climate change have increased by 250% in the last three decades;
  • 73% of policyholders rank climate change among their top concerns, and
  • Insurers mirror the concerns of their customers with about 40% ranking climate change as a top priority, with insurability and profitability as leading climate-related issues.

nsurers focused on building climate-resilient business models will be better positioned to generate deeper customer trust while boosting their relevance and profitability.

“The impact of climate change is forcing insurers to step up and play a greater role in mitigating risks. Insurers who prioritise focus on sustainability will be making smart long-term business decisions that will positively impact their future relevance and growth,” said Seth Rachlin, Global Insurance Industry Leader, Capgemini.  

”The key is to match innovative risk transfers with risk prevention and assign accountability within an executive team to ensure goals are top of mind.”

An increasing number of weather events are negatively impacting the insurance industry with insurers being expected to both protect and prevent against future damage. The report notes that:

Natural catastrophes have led to a 3.6x increase in insured losses and 2x increase in non-insured losses over the last 30 years. While this is concerning, it presents an opportunity for insurers to pivot and recalibrate to serve customers in a dynamic landscape cites the report.

Future-focused insurers will embed climate risk mitigation strategies into their operating and business models

Fundamental changes are required to create customer focused, resilient business models. The report found that more than 80% of individual and small commercial clients of the insurance industry are keenly aware of climate influences and have taken at least one key sustainable action over the last 12 months.

However, more needs to be done to combat the detrimental effects of climate change as only 8% of insurers surveyed are insurance front runners or “Resilience Champions”.

A need to balance risk prevention with risk management

To ‘walk the talk’ on climate resiliency, insurers must revisit their own business models and balance risk prevention with risk management. The report findings suggest that a “climate resiliency framework” is key to build the required capabilities within a changing risk landscape.

It encourages insurers to rethink current risk assessment models, deploy risk prevention at scale, and drive sustainable investment and underwriting strategies, moving beyond exclusions and divestments, to create a resilience ecosystem. The report highlights that among those deemed as ‘Resilience Champions’,

  • 82% have a chief sustainability officer or equivalent.
  • close to 77% have embedded climate-risk data in their products and services.
  • nearly 60% are in advanced stages of deploying machine learning-based pricing models.
  • around 53% are accessing new data sources, including satellite data, remote sensors, weather stations, geo-data, social media data, ESG models, and water levels to provide accurate, granular, and real-time risk information.

Climate resiliency needs to be an integral part of a corporate sustainability strategy

The report concludes with three key actions to fuel insurers’ climate resiliency journeys while boosting their relevance and profitability.

First, insurers must embed climate resiliency into their corporate sustainability strategy with clear actions assigned to c-suite executives to ensure ownership and accountability.

Second, insurers must rework their innovation approach to bridge the gap between long-term goals and short-term planning by embedding resilience across an insurance company’s entire value chain.

Finally, insurers must redesign their technology strategy with product innovation, customer experience and corporate citizenship at the heart of it. This can be achieved by integrating technologies such as IoT, cloud, AI, ML, and quantum computing.

“While most insurers acknowledge climate change’s impact, there is more to be done in terms of demonstrative actions to develop climate resiliency strategies,” said John Berry, CEO of Efma.

”As customers continue to pay closer attention to the impact of climate change on their lives, insurers need to highlight their own commitment by evolving their offerings to both recognise the fundamental role sustainability plays in our industry and to stay competitive in an ever-changing market.”