IIG News

IIG Insights: Insurance Sustainability Development Goals

The IIG was pleased to host the second instalment that formed part of Swiss Re’s Insights Webinar trilogy. Darryl Grater, President of IIG, once again welcomed all in attendance and introduced our Sponsor Swiss RE as well as their speakers from Zurich, Switzerland and Kansas City, USA. Darryl took the opportunity to thank the IIG Team for presenting the IIG Insights session and reminded all members to secure their CPD via the CPD vault on the IIG website.

Carli Jacobs, Head of P&C at Swiss RE, welcomed everyone and thanked all in attendance for their time. In this second webinar, they addressed insurance sustainability goals and solutions that tackle sustainability challenges. Carli reminded everyone that the Q&A at the end will be hosted via questions posted on the App: slido.com.

She also touched on their first webinar session wherein COVID-19 gave insurers much to think about with regards to sustainability. Sustainability Development Goals (SDGs), are part of the UN’s 2030 goal plan which is gaining momentum quite rapidly.

The speakers were introduced together as they presented in a dual format. Dr. Gillian Rutherford is the Senior Strategist at Swiss Re and Samantha Dunn, is the Head of Natural catastrophe.

Gillian started the session by challenging myths around sustainability which seems to be linked to climate change and somehow not linked to profitability. However, she reiterated that approximately, 13 trillion dollars is to be made with investment in these infrastructures.

UN SDGs: Why / What / Key Data

It is designed to reconcile environmental protection with socioeconomic development.  The framework adopted by the UN included some of these goals below:

  • zero hunger
  • good health
  • gender equality
  • good health and well-being
  • climate action

SDGs are interconnected. A mix of environmental goals underpin the rest:

  • life above land
  • life below water and
  • the biosphere
  • Partnerships are the apex

South Africa has made specific commitments to the SDGs by addressing inequity within our country. Every country has a different context and a history that defines their context. Samantha added that there are great organisations doing beneficial work in SA that companies can align to.

Insurance SDGs:

There are many initiatives around assets and risk management. The insurance industry is involved in numerous SDGs projects.  The motivation is based on hopefully having a successful outcome of having the reinsurance industry better contribute to achieving these goals.


Map / Prioritise / iSDGs / Industry Roadmaps / Company Targets / Methods & Toolkits

Connecting to an organisation’s strategy is critical and SDGs will provide relevance in bringing these strategies to implementation stage.

A poll was conducted with all in attendance voting on where we believe emphasis will be placed going forward. The result showed that Climate Action scored highest both globally & in SA.  It is important to note that we must always ask ourselves the question:

“How does the business we write impact, support or detract from sustainability?” – noted by Miko Mitchell (Head of P&S U/W).

Samantha Dunn:

Addressed our operational footprint must switch from defence to offence. Sustainability must be embedded in every aspect of business. Swiss Re has been reporting on key/embed lend into u/w portfolios. Portfolios were evaluated on their sustainability and, also to seek feedback. This turned out to be an extremely interesting exercise which resulted in a few surprises:

  • one of which being on offering the opportunity towards quality education by offering education bonds to secure continuity of education.

Portfolio assessment identifies risks, opportunities, alignment to products, solutions, inventory and KPI’s for success. This opened a whole new dialogue within Swiss Re as they were determined that many of their key products were already sustainable products. Risks are aggregated and sent to risk managers. The opportunities raised allow for one to analyse gaps. A proud project Swiss Re is a part of is the Fynbos Project whereby products created protect the natural ecosystems. Fynbos provides half a million jobs as well as a platform for real creativity and innovation.

Another poll was taken on which sectors would top business opportunities emanate from and Agriculture & Cyber scored the highest votes which will grow within the next 10 years to support the achievement of SDGs.

Some of the early ideas of insurance SDGs metrics and the products behind them include:

  • Agriculture-small shareholder farmers
  • Health
  • Natural ecosystems
  • Motor – emphasis on the reduction of GHG emissions
  • Property

There is real value in an industry std. reporting uniformly. This allows for the application of fresh perspectives to move forward sustainably.

The session was concluded with the speakers addressing a few questions which addressed that even late stakeholders can still make an impact. A key project in SA being the protection of the Mangroves.

The speakers were thanked, and the Insights Session was concluded.


by Asiya Swaleh