Time to stop spectating on climate

We heard this week that the (re)insurance industry can play a pivotal role in tackling the threat of climate change and can play a decisive role by reinforcing its message through the sharing of data.

The message was delivered by Tim Jehnichen, general manager of Munich Re in Madrid, who was speaking as part of panel discussion as part of the latest International Global Risks Seminar, hosted by Spain’s Mapfre.

“What is really needed is profound change,” Jehnichen noted, suggesting that the (re)insurance industry has an important role to play in explaining the consequences of climate change to society and what will happen if we don’t do anything, and can help underpin such a message through the sharing of statistics.

Well, surely no-one would argue against such a position, would they?

After all, if any sector is in a position to help tackle the increasing threat posed by rising CO2 emissions globally, then surely that sector has to be the (re)insurance market, whose business is it to model and monitor present and emerging risks, of which there can surely be none more serious then climate change?

As we are constantly reminded, insurers, brokers, reinsurers and modellers are experts in the field of climate risk. As such, one would naturally expect them to be at the heart of the debate and feature prominently in the public consciousness.

Except that the reality is somewhat different. Instead of featuring centre stage, the insurance market seems content to play more of a supporting role, content to add its voice when called upon as stand-in for the big performances.

And there can be few bigger performances than COP26, the United Nations Climate Change Conference, which this year will be held in Glasgow.

One would expect to see one of the UK’s major insurers supporting the event as a main sponsor, yes?

No. Sainsbury’s, Hitachi and NatWest are all in the mix as principal sponsors, along with half a dozen others. Not one of these is from the insurance sector!

Come on boys and girls, put your money where your mouth is and get involved! Influence and drive the debate, don’t just spectate.

Enjoy the read,

Marcus Alcock,

Editor, Emerging Risks